The Confederation of British Industry wants young adults in England to be entitled to an extra year of education, BBC is reporting.
Director general Carolyn Fairbairn says this move could benefit further education colleges, but any cut to university tuition fees to compensate would cause them “profound harm”.
The intervention by the CBI comes amid growing pressure to achieve a better balance of funding between the almost half of 18-year-olds in England who go to university and those who do not.
In a speech at Cambridge Regional College, she will argue that further education colleges have “politically been neglected”, leading to historic underfunding.
As part of the solution, she suggests young adults should have an extra year of education entitlement beyond the age of 18.
This might be to take a course at a college or a foundation year at a university, leading to a qualification above A-level, but below a degree.
There has been speculation that the independent panel reviewing post-18 education could recommend a reduction in the headline tuition fee for at least some university courses in England.
The Association of Colleges said the CBI intervention was welcome, because much of the focus has been on the 60% of 18-year-olds who get A-levels and go on to university.
In December, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said the government recognised the need for more new technical qualifications at a level just below a degree.
Read more CBI calls for extra year of education
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