Access chief: Net cost for students is being cut

Director of fair access Sir Martin Harris explains shifting ground on tuition fees for 2012:

"What we have seen is that in addition to reducing their headline fees by £16.3m, institutions have also significantly increased fee waivers.

"In short, money is not just being moved from pot to another, there's also additional investment, particularly in fee-waivers, so reducing the net costs for some students."

"Bursaries and fee-waivers are not the same thing. Bursaries are money in a student's pocket now whereas fee-waivers reduce a loan that some students may not need to repay in full.

"We don't yet know which will prove more effective in terms of supporting and protecting access and retention."