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Time to crack down on the payday lenders exploiting students

As NUS and OFFA pull out of a conference taking place today in London due to the inclusion of payday lenders, NUS’ Colum McGuire explains why action must now be taken to crack down on companies that are exploiting student hardship.

Students need to demand more than mere ‘value for money’

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.

Expanding the debate

Cheered on by the right-wing press, it is a widely-held belief that there are “too many graduates”. So what does HE expansion look like in that context and what form should it take? Not pulling the ladder up, but moving and positioning it, ensuring that the expansion of the future offers transformation and returns appropriate to the age, not build on outdated ideas and prejudices. Jim Dickinson reflects on the wider debate and the ideologies and politics that drive it.

Five questions about students as partners

The idea of students as active participants in learning has led to numerous projects designed to support students to contribute to shaping their course delivery and content, anything from independent study modules to students working with course leaders to shape their curriculum. All these things are good, interesting, valuable projects, but are they partnership? Are we in danger of adopting the language of partnership, or applying the ideas of partnership to specific one-off schemes and projects, while missing its transformational implication?

Fear the future campus wars

There’s a long tradition of student politics and activism at university. Sometimes it has been in response to wider political concerns such as wars or cuts. But other times it has been specifically targeted at university management in order to force a change in policy. The past twenty years have seen a step-change in the professionalisation of university leadership, with modern governance practices embedded, clearer lines of accountability drawn and more transparent systems of change deployed. At roughly the same time, students’ unions have undergone a similar process of professionalisation. This has resulted in a very different campus culture emerging over the past twenty years – where it was once an adversarial relationship, students’ unions are now seen as partners in ensuring a high-quality student experience.

The challenge of representation

How do you represent the collective interests of the HE sector? Universities UK, the representative organisation for the UK’s universities, aims to be the voice for all institutions. They attempt to “promote a successful and diverse higher education sector” [Source]. This is a difficult task. A big reason is because of the word ‘diverse’. While… read more