Vice-chancellors set out their general election stall this week by highlighting the need for investment in the United Kingdom's value-for-money higher education system.
Roderick Floud, provost of London Guildhall University and president-elect of Universities UK, told delegates at a seminar in London on Wednesday that the UK gets a good deal from higher education in terms of teaching efficiency and research and innovation capacities.
Professor Floud said: "What we are seeking between now and the general election and beyond is an open and frank debate about the future funding of higher education which is robust, well-researched and evidence based. At the heart of the debate are the questions of who pays, who gains and how much?" Professor Floud, speaking at a seminar hosted by the Institute for Public Policy Research, said he was optimistic about future demand for higher education despite fluctuations in demand for places at some institutions.
He said that student numbers were rising and that further expansion would lie in new markets comprising people from families with no history of higher education.