Fees do not harm access, says architect of policy

“Broadening participation in higher education is not primarily a university or even a sixth-form-level problem, but must be tackled before children reach the age of 16. That was the view put forth by Nick Barr, professor of public economics at the London School of Economics and one of the architects of student tuition fees in the UK. He told an audience of academics, politicians and policymakers that the key to improving university access could be summed up by the maxim: ‘It’s attainment, stupid.’ Speaking last week at a Times Higher Education-Higher Education Policy Institute seminar on the marketisation of the university sector, Professor Barr said: ‘Sociologists often say that fees harm access: they don’t, it’s all gone wrong a lot earlier, and if we try to fix access by worrying just about fees then we are putting our passion and our resources in the wrong place’ …” (more)

[John Gill, THE, 22 January]

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