A supposed lack of student resilience is often used to explain away a number of new challenges for universities. Alex Prestage argues we must move away from a deficit model to one that better recognises relative disadvantage.
A squeeze in overall demand means that there’s a new urgency behind broadening the sector’s net to include greater numbers of students from low-participation backgrounds, argues UCAS’s Mary Curnock Cook.
What if access to higher education was entirely ‘fair’, and more evenly split across social classes? David Morris has made a rough model of a ‘fair’ system to uniquely illustrate some of the challenges for fairer and wider access to university.
Outreach has become a common part of higher education providers’ access work, but it needs to be for life, and not just for university. Fraser Burt makes the case for employers’ bridging the class gap.
How are innovative alternative models of higher education being developed in the UK, and what are the barriers to further innovation? Joy Carter introduces the latest inquiry from the Higher Education Commission.
Forcing universities to open or sponsor schools runs the risk of diverting resources away from already effective widening access activities. Maddalaine Ansell lists her objections to the government’s plans for compulsory sponsorship.
How do different characteristics of universities influence choice? The team at London Economics has taken a look at how rankings, employability, and student support influence the perceived net monetary value of a degree, and found some intriguing results.
The use of split metrics in the TEF could incentivise universities to do more to support disabled students’ attainment and employment prospects, and perhaps make up some of the way for recent cuts to DSA, argues Robert McLaren.
Whether bursaries actually work at widening access has long been a controversial topic. Les Ebdon writes how OFFA has introduced a new tool to help universities evaluate bursaries’ impact, which will be required for future access agreements.
Following last week’s annual report from the Social Mobility Commission, Nottingham Trent VC Edward Peck puts the case for ranking universities’ performance in social mobility and for making access targets a part of the TEF.
Sally Holt, wonk-aspirant and former aspirations coordinator at a Hartlepool school, argues that the continued practice of unpaid internships is undoing all the good work by the education sector to make life chances more fair.
Students rely heavily on their parents for emotional, financial and career support throughout their time at university. Jenny Shaw ponders the consequences for those involved in widening participation and retention.
The social mobility debate must move on from getting a small number of students into ‘selective’ institutions and think more about opening up higher learning through more flexible funding and credit accumulation. Daisy Hooper makes the case.