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Prospective students back the idea of funding higher education through a levy on employers, according to a report on options to solve England’s funding dilemma, in which a vice-chancellor backs a graduate tax as “genuinely progressive” and a former universities minister advocates differentiating universities’ fees according to quality.

The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) report includes a series of essays by former universities ministers, sector chiefs and student leaders, models the costs of a range of potential funding models for undergraduate education ahead of the next general election, and discusses the findings of a survey of more than 3,100 prospective students about their funding preferences.

Rose Stephenson, director of policy and advocacy at Hepi, told Times Higher Education that despite both universities and students seeing a significant real-terms decrease in funding, political parties are “keeping shtum” about their policy ideas.

“Proposing a rise to tuition fees is politically toxic, and yet, to maintain a world-class higher-education system in the UK, investment is needed,” she added.

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