TOP of the Government’s agenda this week is a review of higher education funding.

Details of the exact terms of the review are expected to be confirmed today, but from what has been revealed so far, it appears unlikely that the outcome will be the swingeing cuts to tuition fees that many would like to see.

From what new education secretary Damian Hinds said during a round of political interviews yesterday, it seems the focus will be on charging tuition fees which reflect the cost of delivering the course, and the future economic benefit graduates could have to the country, rather than addressing the crushing debt which students are being left with long after they have entered the world of work.

The suggestion that the level of fees could relate to the potential economic usefulness of a course could have worrying implications for the arts and humanities, although Mr Hinds has played down the possibility.

Any changes to higher education need to focus on affordability for students, as well as the wider issues around the country’s labour market and skills gaps. The 6.1 per cent interest rate on student loans seems grossly unfair, while the replacement of maintenance grants with maintenance loans is a barrier to disadvantaged students.

These are the most pressing issues for those approaching university. It remains to be seen whether this latest review will actually provide meaningful, practical recommendations to address them, or just tinker around the edges of these fundamental problems with our higher education system.