Left Watch

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The Government fines universities for trying to meet its target on student numbers

Labour are pledged to an arbitrary target of having 50% of school leavers go to university.

And at present only 43% of school leavers go to university, which - whatever you think of the validity of such targets - means there is still quite a long way to go before that target is reached.

Yet today we learn that Lord Mandelson is to fine universities £3,700 for every student they recruit above the set limit. It is contained in this letter he has written to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

As Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary David Willetts points out:

"We now have the bizarre situation that Universities are being fined for meeting targets set by this Government."

Jonathan Isaby