In response to the Autumn Statement, Nick Hillman, the Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:
‘The new postgraduate loans deserve two-and-a-half cheers, which is as good as it gets in austere times. Postgraduate support was unfinished business from the 2012 university funding reforms and the new scheme is welcome.
‘It will open up postgrad study to more people. The age limit will be frustrating to those who miss out and people will doubtless lobby against it. But it is a preferable starting point to many alternatives, like restricting the loans to certain subjects.
‘It’s intriguing that the extra postgraduates are predicted to number only 10,000 and we don’t know exactly how tough the repayment terms will be. But, given last year’s announcement on undergraduate numbers, it’s fair to say the Chancellor has delivered for students two years on the trot.
‘The announcement on research is very important. Austerity risks weakening the geographical scope of our research base, so it’s right for Ministers to think regionally. But if more research were to be done outside of universities, as in other countries, we could see an unintentional drop off in our universities’ position in the global league tables.’