The brother to the UK Prime Minister, Jo Johnson, has warned against policies that would lower the cost of university tuition fees. Johnson, who until September 2019 was the universities minister, argued that lowering the cost of tuition fees would be devastating for universities.
The former Tory MP resigned last year, citing unresolvable tension between his family loyalty and national interests. He now chairs the group that owns Times Educational Supplement and has been very vocal about university matters since he quit.
Reduction of the tuition fee proposal
He also argued that agreeing to lower the tuition fee was bad politics while responding to conservative proposals that promise to reduce the fees from the current £9,250 to £7,500. The proposals which were commissioned by Theresa May also included increasing paying time from 30 to 40 years and providing grants to poor students.
Johnson backed the government efforts and commitment to increasing the funding of science in Universities. He also said that he wanted the universities to remain properly funded. He argued that the promises being made by conservatives on lowering the tuition fees would cripple universities’ funding avenues.
He continued by saying,
I think that would do grave damage to our institutions’ financial stability and, also, I think it would be very bad politics as well, but that is rather beside the point, So we’ve got to continue to fund our universities successfully and build on our research excellence, and I think that’s the priority for the government.
Johnson said that with the current politics, it was almost certain that when the government reduces the fees by a third, the treasury will not replace the funds to universities. He continued by saying other issues are affecting the universities, such as degree inflation and unconditional offers, which are more urgent than the fees.
Johnson concluded by saying that universities needed the support of everyone due to the role they play in the UK. He described them as national assets that will be very important to the country post-Brexit. He argued that this is the main reason they need to be protected at all costs and funded.
Featured image by Unsplash