Reports of universities jumping the gun on inflationary fee increases are greatly exaggerated, and have forgotten to account for consumer protection law.
Building on new research from Claire Callender and Paul Temple, Jim Dickinson sets his sights on higher education’s autonomy and a redrawing of the compact that has enabled a failed market.
When the present English tuition fee regime was being planned, there were plenty of voices from inside universities warning that it would change the nature of the relationship between students and their universities for the worse. Students would, it was feared, become customers rather than partners in an academic enterprise – has this happened? Claire Callender and Paul Temple discuss their new research on the changing student experience.
Following a review of universities’ terms and conditions, Which? is calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to examine evidence that suggests students are being left open to unfair changes to courses, and that some providers are failing to ensure that their terms are complying with the law.
Which? has sent an FOI to every publicly funded institution to find out the extent of the terms that universities have provided for themselves to make changes to courses. Their research has shone a very bright light on the current state of HE terms and conditions. Mark Leach looks at the implications for the sector.
Following the second report from Which? on students’ experiences of higher education, Louisa Darian, Policy Adviser at Which? talks about students as consumers alongside the complaints at higher education institutions and explores the ways in which the system could improve.
Students are partners in higher education because of the efforts they put into their own learning and because our students’ unions representation and student-led activity systems make it possible for students to contribute to forging an engaging and dynamic learning environment. Megan Dunn from NUS looks at the new Framework for Partnership and why it matters to the sector.
The Competition and Markets Authority has published draft compliance advice for higher education providers in relation to consumer protection legislation. It covers the whole of the UK, the whole of the sector and the whole gamut of provision, and sets up a range of potentially important legal battles for the future. Mark Leach takes a look at its highlights.
The Consumer Rights Bill currently working its way around the Houses of Parliament promises to give the sector one of the biggest shake-ups it has had in recent years. Yet with universities remaining oddly quiet about this potentially landmark piece of legislation, quieter still is the debate about what this Bill means for students’ place in the academy and the ongoing ‘consumer’ versus ‘partner’ debates that have raged for years – not least on Wonkhe. With fresh legislation now looming, Jim Dickinson takes a look at its implications and considers the power of the promises that universities make to students.
In December 2013 in his Annual Autumn Statement the UK Chancellor George Osbourne announced the end of the Student Number Control (SNC) regime for English higher education institutions, thereby removing the cap on places that had been in place since 2009. But how and why did we get here? Was this the Government’s plan all along? Colin McCaig builds on his recent research to take us on a journey of paradoxical adventures in higher education market making.
With the arrival of the Competition and Markets Authority to the higher education sector, debates about consumerism, regulation and the role of students and their institutions have intensified. In this piece, Jim Dickinson looks at power and the balance set between students, academics and institutions. Jim asks if this question of power is being left out of the debate and offers a different way to look at the work of the CMA and the debates around their intervention.