29 January 2018
A summary of the responses to the recent public consultation on higher education funding has been published.
The consultation took place during the five weeks from 11 December 2017 to 12 January 2018. Islanders were asked for their views of the Council of Ministers’ new proposals for helping families meet the costs of higher education. These were announced by the Treasury Minister during his Budget speech on 28 November.
Under the proposal, more funding would be added to the existing grant scheme so that the majority of students could have tuition fees of up to £9,250 a year paid by the States and the amount for maintenance/living expenses would be increased.
The main points of the consultation were:
- A total of 3,374 responses
- 64% of replies were from parents
- 22% of replies were from students
- 120 people visited four drop-in information events at Jersey Library
- 88% of respondents were in favour of the proposal
As well as voting on the proposal, which was developed after discussions between the Treasury and Education Department, people were able to submit comments under three headings. Several key themes emerged:
- The proposal was too generous and should not help very high income families.
- The £150,000 household income threshold for a reduced grant was too high.
- More parents and students felt a university education was now possible.
- Comments (for and against) requiring students to return to Jersey.
- Comments (for and against) limiting the type of degree that could be funded.
- Concern about funding and whether income tax would rise to pay for the scheme.
As a result of the consultation, Ministers are now considering amendments to the original proposal. A report and proposition with a revised scheme will be lodged as soon as possible by the Education Minister on behalf of the Council of Ministers.
Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans said “It is essential that the island helps its young people realise their potential without putting unbearable financial pressure on the families who support them. This has been a valuable consultation and I would like to thank everyone who took part and gave us their views.”
Treasury Minister Senator Alan MacLean said “I am delighted we have been to find a solution that will ensure more of our students can go to university. This extra investment in our children will be found from within existing resources in 2018 and 2019.”
Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst said “Education has been a strategic priority of this Council of Ministers and rightly so. A highly skilled workforce is essential if we are to ensure Jersey’s continued prosperity but, over and above that, I believe this is a fantastic thing to do for our students. It means they can aim high for themselves and for our island.”