How much will Bradley vouchers be worth?

In an article I wrote for the Higher Education Supplement last week, I estimated that the per student funding increase from the Bradley review could be as low as 1-2% for most disciplines. I now think that this is an underestimate.

The difficulty is that though prices for student places are a critical element of a voucher scheme, the Bradley report doesn’t recommend either actual prices or a price-setting mechanism. The only specific proposal on prices is that teaching and nursing courses get the 25% increase in student contributions they missed out under the Nelson reforms in 2005.

So any estimates of prices rely on inference and assumptions. The committee recommends a 10% increase in teaching and learning funding, but also two clawbacks on teaching and learning funding. 4% of teaching and learning funding would go to social inclusion programs, and another 2.5% to a ‘performance’ fund that could include the results of teaching surveys, graduate outcomes etc. Because these clawbacks would be distributed based on criteria either than student enrolments, I take the view that this funding should not be counted towards voucher values.
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