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It’s easy to criticise policies – such as the funding system for higher education in England. It’s far harder to offer something better that could be delivered in practice, given political and fiscal realities.

HEPI’s latest report How should undergraduate degrees be funded? seeks to do just that. It has taken four proposed models for funding HE in England and one for Scotland and subjected them to a rigorous costing analysis (with modelling by London Economics) and a poll (by UCAS) of the opinions of current and potential applicants.

I was grateful to be invited to contribute my own proposal for a ‘graduate employer levy’ and was thoroughly delighted to discover that, compared to the current English model, an employer levy would result in a saving of just over £8 billion for each cohort of students. If you want to see what the proposal is and how it achieves those savings, do please read the report and maybe refer back to Fairer Funding, a paper I wrote for HEPI in 2018 which argued the case for what was then a less developed version of the scheme.

I said the saving delighted me. ‘Stunned’ might be a better description. Saving money hadn’t been my intention, but nor had I wanted it to cost anything.

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