231 results
Date Name

“For-Profits Eye the British Market”

New opportunities for private providers The Chronicle of Higher Education has a good piece on the interest for-profit providers are taking in the UK market. Robert Lytle of the Parthenon Group, management consultants with an interest in education, seems a bit sceptical: “It’s a very expensive market to operate in, and the profitability is not… read more

“Old-fashioned universities letting students down”

Moaners not Maoists According to the Guardian, David Willetts has said that old-fashioned universities are letting students down: Universities are badly failing students with unfit teaching and old-fashioned methods and will have to radically modernise lectures and facilities if they want to raise fees, according to the Conservatives’ spokesman on higher education. David Willetts told… read more

£11.5k fees? Time to come back down to earth

As fees take the stage one final time as the General Election campaign draws to a close, Mark Leach argues that it is time to bring the whole issue back to reality and proposes a bold move to ensure that HE fees and finance take their rightful place at the heart of our political and economic debate.

£6,000 fees: unanswered questions

As the dust settles on the Labour announcement that they would lower fees to £6,000 next year, Julian Gravatt looks in detail at the policy and asks ten questions on funding, regulation and policy that are raised by the promise of lower fees.

A final farewell to the binary divide?

It is no great surprise to see Liverpool John Moores University formally announce today that their fees will be £9,000 across the board. What makes them notable for writers of copy everywhere is that they are the first ‘post-1992’ institution to formally declare that they will be charging the full whack. But others are expected to follow them, and they will in the coming days and weeks.

But a lot has changed on the higher education landscape since 1992. The binary divide between older universities and those that grew out of the polytechnics has become increasingly blurred and irrelevant to the modern discourse on HE. Indeed it has been dying a slow death, and this week’s events should be the final word on this obsolete view of the sector.

A new threat from the right?

The Government’s friendless higher education policies may have another enemy that has been previously lying low; the Tory right. Yesterday the Government announced their Social Mobility Strategy which has been broadly welcomed by most. But right-wing Tory, and one-time leadership hopeful David Davis, used the opportunity to further his libertarian argument that would see the retreat of the state in almost every aspect of life, including laws designed to rebalance unfair socio-economic realities. Included in his complaint are measures to ensure that universities take state school applicants through what many view as the discredited and largely toothless OFFA regime which in any case allows institutions to set their own benchmarks for success, rather than complying with a Whitehall edict.

A safe bet

Both Oxford and Cambridge have let it be known this week that they intend to charge the maximum £9000 fee. Absolutely no one is surprised by this news.

However the details about the new access requirements that will come with fees will be announced later this week and Oxbridge have taken a gamble that their measures (such as Cambridge’s ‘discount’ for the poorest students) will more than meet the new regulatory requirements.

A small sigh of relief?

Following Labour’s announcement that they would lower fees from 9k to 6k, Alistiar Jarvis looks at why the policy isn’t nearly as bad as some in the sector had feared – but warns of challenges on the road ahead.

Aaron Porter’s catch-22

This morning’s story in The Times about a leaked NUS memo advising students’ unions to “not fight against fees” was depressingly predictable. Wonkhe has seen the secret memo which is not at all hard to get hold of and it doesn’t advise anything of the sort. It discusses fees and what institutions might take into account when setting pricing levels and it suggest that SUs if not already, should demand to be part of the decision making process as the legitimate representatives of the student body. It suggests questions that might be worth asking as part of holistic campaign to ensure a fair deal for students. It doesn’t take an expert in campaigning to realise that a students’ union president will get more leverage through a well-informed debate at University Council than standing outside the registry with a placard saying “NO TO FEES!”

Agent power and international student recruitment

Are agents too powerful? A recent Times Higher Education story on the use of agents by UK universities in international student recruitment noted: UK universities recruited more than 50,000 international students through commission payments to overseas agents last year, spending close to £60 million on the practice in 2010-11. Using data obtained under the Freedom… read more

All aboard the USS pension deficit

The USS pension fund deficit is not exactly news, but the latest round of headlines only adds to the stink of intergenerational unfairness that surrounds universities. Ant Bagshaw unpicks the numbers and the politics.

Apocalypse now?

Are universities doomed? With the apocalyptic tone to many recent pieces on higher education you could be given for thinking universities are facing imminent disaster.

Are headline writers getting it wrong on fees?

As the nation’s press runs away with stories on tuition fees, Steven Jones argues that much of the subtleties of the system – both its faults and benefits – are being lost in the debate.

Autumn Statement: Pain, sorcery and a rabbit called Tim

On the day the Chancellor has made his Autumn Statement for 2014, Andy Westwood reviews the statement and its implications for policy across higher education, science and beyond – both today and over the next Parliament which is set to see further deep cuts and real pain across Government spending.

Between Public and Private

Yesterday saw BPP University College announced their 2012 fees are set at £5,000. This could be a game changer. It is the first announcement from the David Willetts-endorsed ‘new wave’ of private providers, putting BPP under a considerable amount of scrutiny.

Beyond conspiracy: Why TEF plus fees may drive efficiency

The debate about the TEF’s impending link to fees has caused widespread debate in the sector, but what if this measure was interpreted differently – as a measure of inflation ? Gordon McKenzie wonders about the funding choices universities will have to take if the Green Paper proposals are implemented.

Beyond the broken funding system

As the BIS Select Committee adds its weight to the growing consensus about the (un)sustainability of the Coalition’s higher education funding policies, Sam Jones looks at the difficult political and economic climate both before and after next year’s General Election. With the policy case now hard to refute, he calls for another Browne-style review to create political consensus and lasting change.

BIS failed to heed warnings about HE privatisation

A report released today by the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) strongly criticises the government for disregarding warnings about the dangers of vast sums of public money being given to for-profit higher education colleges.

Black holes and revelations

It’s perhaps fitting that it was the week of Dr Who’s 50th anniversary when a ‘black hole’ reportedly emerged in the BIS higher education budget. Over recruitment of HNDs and HNCs at private colleges has been reported by the Guardian as the cause of this serious financial problem.

Already there are reports of immediate pressures to BIS, SLC and HEFCE and possibly even to Research Council budgets as a result. According to the Guardian, BIS must find £900m of savings by 2015/16 – the first £600m of that in 2014-15, the final year of this Parliament and Spending Review period. Andy Westwood takes us on a tour of the negotiations that will now be taking place inside government and explores what might be cut in light of these latest revelations.

Blue skies thinking

After the heat and noise around Labour’s announced £6,000 fee policy, Martin McQuillan continues his monthly series on higher education politics and policy by turning his attention to the Conservative Party – their policies and what life might be like for universities if the Conservatives are returned to power in May.

Brightest of tomorrow’s students don’t understand fees

Another shock story from the Education Guardian on fees: A study published today Pure Potential, an independent campaign group which aims to increase access to university, shows that 75% of bright Year 12 state school students feel they do not understand university tuition fees. This is 12% more than last year. The survey shows that… read more

British students flocking to the US Ivy League. Or not?

An untrained brain drain? In a recent post I commented on the press reports on the modest flow of English students to universities in continental Europe and the reverse flow of other EU students to the UK. The media seems extremely keen to report any international movement by students from the UK as evidence of… read more

Broken Universities?

Our universities are broken, it seems According to a new report from the Adam Smith Institute, higher education should not receive public money in the way that it does: In The Broken University, education expert James Stanfield examines what is seen and what is not seen in the UK higher education sector. In contrast to… read more