Click here for THE homepageBy David Matthews. A key government policy designed to cut tuition fees has been labelled a failure after it emerged that nearly half the places reallocated to lower-cost universities went unfilled.
Data revealing a lack of student demand for low-cost places allocated under the "core-and-margin" system also show that further education colleges had more success than universities in filling the places - running contrary to the predictions of some in higher education.
For 2012-13, higher education providers in England with an average fee of £7,500 or less were allocated 20,000 places - a so-called "margin" created by top-slicing a portion of places from institutions. The Higher Education Funding Council for England invited bids for the places and distributed them on the basis of "quality, demand and cost".
Of the 20,000 margin places, 7,000 went unfilled, according to government figures released to Shabana Mahmood, Labour's shadow universities and science minister, in answer to a written parliamentary question. Read more...