I've reproduced below Simon Hughes letter to members about his report on ensuring fair access to higher education. The full document can be found here. I'm going to read it and digest it properly but on initial inspection it does begin to address the funding and resourcing of OFFA which I've blogged about before.
I'm not sure it goes nearly far enough. But it's a start.
Here's the letter:
I am acutely aware of the concerns in our party about the decision taken last December to increase from 2012 the maximum amount universities can charge for tuition. Like many of you, I was particularly concerned that the perception and the publicity around the higher costs of university could deter people from going into higher education. This is why I didn’t vote for the policy in parliament.
I hope all party members now know all the facts, figures and costs of a degree for future graduates - nothing at all for those earning less than £21,000 and as little as £7.50 a month for those earning £22,000. I have always believed, despite my worries, that it might be possible with big effort, the right language and the commitment of all involved in advising future graduates to prevent the new policy on higher education from deterring people from going to university.
This is why just before New Year David Cameron and Nick Clegg appointed me to be the government’s Advocate for Access to Education. For six months I have travelled around the country to speak with thousands of young people about the changes to university financing and all other concerns they have about access to higher education.
Last week I published my final report. It contains over 30 recommendations directed towards schools and colleges, universities, government and regulators on what they can do to encourage participation in higher education. You can download a copy of the report from the Cabinet Office website here: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/hughes-report
I am clear that it is now the duty of all of us - government, politicians of all colours and the public - to get out there and make sure that nobody makes a decision about going to university without knowing exactly how it will be paid for and the support available.
This is a big challenge. But few things in this country are more important.
Simon Hughes MP
Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons