funding system for England’s universities of tuition fees and repayments is the “worst of both worlds”, says an independent study.

The Higher Education Commission has cast doubt on the long-term financial sustainability of the current system.

It warns students are paying more but the government is still writing off high levels of student debt.

“We have created a system where everybody feels like they are getting a bad deal,” says the study.

The Higher Education Commission was set up to create a better informed debate on the university sector, with representatives from education, business and political parties.

This study from the commission has examined the sustainability of the financial arrangements for England’s universities, taking evidence from 60 expert witnesses.

Student debt

It has produced a highly critical report on the current arrangements – but admits there is no “magic bullet” in trying to design a better alternative.

The report says that the funding arrangements are unsatisfactory for students, universities and the government.

“The current funding system represents the worst of both worlds.

“The government is funding higher education by writing off student debt, as opposed to directly investing in teaching grants,” says the study.

“Students feel like they are paying substantially more for their higher education, but are set to have a large proportion of their debt written off by the government.

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