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The end of free college in England: implications for quality, enrolments and equity

Murphy, Richard, Scott-Clayton, Judith and Wyness, Gill (2017) The end of free college in England: implications for quality, enrolments and equity. CEP Discussion Papers (CEPDP1501). Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Despite increasing financial pressures on higher education systems throughout the world, many governments remain resolutely opposed to the introduction of tuition fees, and some countries and states where tuition fees have been long established are now reconsidering free higher education. This paper examines the consequences of charging tuition fees on university quality, enrolments, and equity. To do so, we study the English higher education system which has, in just two decades, moved from a free college system to one in which tuition fees are among the highest in the world. Our findings suggest that England’s shift has resulted in increased funding per head, rising enrolments, and a narrowing of the participation gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. In contrast to other systems with high tuition fees, the English system is distinct in that its income-contingent loan system keeps university free at the point of entry, and provides students with comparatively generous assistance for living expenses. We conclude that tuition fees, at least in the English case supported their goals of increasing quality, quantity, and equity in higher education

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I22 - Educational Finance
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I23 - Higher Education Research Institutions
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I28 - Government Policy
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 15:56
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 04:04
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/86593

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