Sir Ron Dearing's committee of inquiry into higher education will present the Government with a range of future funding options, Sir Ron said this week.
The possibility of students contributing to fees and the establishment of a new Learning Bank to handle student support are likely to be among the choices.
Sir Ron said that his committee's report, expected to be published on or around July 17, will probably give two or three funding models for consideration. Each may contain several interchangeable factors, such as the Learning Bank, which might be used in a variety of ways. This allows the committee to indicate its preferred option while avoiding having to go back to the drawing board should ministers reject recommendations. "The committee is still working on the possibilities, and has not yet reached any firm conclusions," Sir Ron said.
On the practicalities of asking students to contribute to fees, one suggestion is to find the total cost of teaching every subject across the country and divide this by the number of students to find an average course cost. This could then be divided between state and student in a ratio of something like 70 per cent from the state to 30 per cent from the student.
The final report is expected to comprise a summary, about 800 pages of appendices, followed by about 500 pages of detailed issues under about 15 headings.