Students should be able to get degrees for free if they study at their local university, a vice-chancellor has said.
Tim Blackman, of Middlesex University, also said they should be hit with financial penalties if they study in another town or city.
The vice chancellor, who was appointed in 2015, said encouraging local study has ‘many benefits’
He said there should be a shift in the culture of students living in halls of residence miles away from home, and was a hangover fro the boarding school model.
According to The Times, he wrote in a blog post: ‘A policy of encouraging local study has many benefits.
‘It is less costly to students and taxpayers, greener in transport terms and would take pressure off many local housing markets.’
Professor Blackman said he did not want to see means-tested maintenance grants re-introduced because students are choosing to live away from home, rather than commute to their nearest university.
He added: ‘There is still a case for maintenance loans rather than grants because students choose to incur the additional cost of moving away from home.’
Professor Blackman argued that incentives to attend local universities would not limit ambitions, the Times reports.
He added: ‘Choice is already narrowed by ‘top’ universities using academic selection in a way that excludes many such people.
‘The idea that it is only by moving many miles away from home to study that students meet people from different backgrounds would be shown to be the myth that it largely is, given that our university system sorts students into institutions where they study mostly with other students like them.’
But Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Insititute defended the tradition of moving away to university.
He told the The Times: ‘It is much less common in other countries but has advantages, like helping the transition to adulthood by forcing young students to be independent.
‘It can also expose students to diverse influences that may not be available in the area where they grew up.’