It may seem like a simple case of numbers, but there is a danger that higher education minister Margaret Hodge's proposal to lift the cap on university student numbers will jeopardise the very institutions that are achieving most in widening participation.
New universities take the lion's share of non-traditional students. It will be disastrous to allow any of them to go to the wall through a mixture of underfunding and a student free-for-all. Students should not be forced to go to new universities by restricting access to the old. The new university sector can continue to attract students provided the institutions are funded on a equal footing with the old universities.