PODCAST: Return to campus, graduate skills, pandemic student experience

This week on the podcast there’s guidance for England for the return to campus in the new year to get across.

News and analysis of higher education from our leading team of wonks.

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This week on the podcast there’s guidance for England for the return to campus in the new year to get across.

We also discuss the skills graduates need and whether higher education can deliver them, and new polling form HEPI on the full time undergraduate experience this term.

Presented by Mark Leach, Editor in Chief at Wonkhe, guests Tim Blackman, Vice Chancellor at the Open University, Jess Moody, Senior Adviser at Advance HE and Debbie McVitty, Editor at Wonkhe.

Items this week

Correlate

Last week saw a release of data from the Student Loans Company detailing fee loan and maintenance loan payments linked to each provider for the 2019-20 academic year. Looking at the data for full time, undergraduate, students I’ve plotted the total fee loan amount against the total maintenance loan amount for each provider in England.

So -do students at a provider that gets a lot of fee income from SLC receive more maintenance loans? Or are there some providers that have fee paying students who are less likely to access maintenance loans from SLC? Or – indeed – does it correlate?

Yes – it does correlate – r squared is 0.97 so we have a very strong relationship. However, this does not distract us from a genuinely fascinating graph. Almost without exception, Russell Group and other pre-92 providers are below the line of best fit, and post-92 providers tend to be above it. This would appear to show that students who claim more maintenance loans – and thus are less likely to be from a background where financial support is easily available, tend not to go to the pre-92 or Russell Group end of the sector. It’s not that we didn’t know that already – it’s more that we have discovered a new access and participation metric (shh… don’t tell OfS).

Data is from the Student Loans Company for the 2019-2020 academic year, though I’ve included the option to look at 2018 as well (it’s almost identical). And where the data doesn’t exist, I’ve not plotted it.

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