Higher Education Funding Reforms: A Comprehensive Analysis of Educational and Labor Market Outcomes in England

Wednesday 17 January 2018, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Ghazala Azmat (Paris)

Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of changes in the funding of higher education in England on students’ choices and outcomes. Over the last two decades – through three major reforms in 1998, 2006 and 2012 – undergraduate university education in public universities moved from being free to students and state funded to charging substantial tuition fees to all students. This was done in conjunction with the government offering generous means-tested maintenance grants and loans. Using detailed longitudinal micro-data that follows all students attending state schools in England (more than 90 percent of all school-aged children) from lower education to higher education, we document the socio-economic distributional effects of the 2006 and 2012 policy reforms on a comprehensive set of outcomes, including enrollment, relocation decisions, selection of institution, program of study, and performance within university. For a subset of students, we track them after completing higher education, allowing us to study the labor market effects of the policy reforms. Despite the substantial higher education funding reforms, we do not find large aggregate effect on student enrollment or on other margins. Moreover, the reforms had a small, but disproportionately larger, negative impact on the enrollment of those from higher parts of the wealth distribution – reducing the enrollment gap across socio-economic groups.

Location: ARC014 ARRC Auditorium

Admission: All welcome