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BBC News: University Chief Wants to Bring Back Maintenance Grants
August 7, 2018

The BBC reports that the head of an elite group of universities has called for maintenance grants to be restored to help improve diversity in higher education.

Tim Bradshaw, who leads the Russell Group, told the Independent the grant could make a “substantial difference” to young people “nervous” about debt

He said it could also encourage more people to consider applying at all.

The government says it has made significant progress in getting disadvantaged students into university.

Maintenance grants used to be given to students in England and Wales from lower income backgrounds – families with annual incomes of £25,000 or less got the full grant of £3,387 a year.

In 2015, the then-Chancellor George Osborne announced they would be scrapped from September 2016.

He said the grants had become “unaffordable” and there was a “basic unfairness in asking taxpayers to fund grants for people who are likely to earn a lot more than them”.

But critics said many low and middle income students could be put off university by the measure. Read more

Partners in Progression: Engaging Parents in University Access
July 23, 2018

Universities should work with parents to increase access to university, according to a new report published our latest report, published with King’s College London.

The recommendation comes in response to finding that 95% of parents have concerns about their child going to university, including worries about debt, living costs and the support available for students.

This report sets out how parents’ engagement in their children’s education impacts on university progression, examines whether different parents have different attitudes and concerns about higher education, and illustrates how universities can best engage parents and carers in widening participation outreach. It provides schools and universities with an overview of the relationship between parental engagement, attitudes and concerns, and entry to higher education and provides practical guiding principles to shape universities’ and schools’ efforts to engage parents in outreach.

The report draws together findings from a literature review and four strands of primary research: a national survey of parents’ attitudes and concerns; a focus group and interviews with parents; a Freedom of Information Request to 30 top tariff UK universities, and, five in-depth case studies of universities’ parental engagement.

Read the report on parental engagement here
EU Students Studying in the UK
July 4, 2018

The government have announced that the status of EU students studying in the UK will remain the same for an extra year after Brexit.

Damian Hinds said: “Students from the EU make an important contribution to the universities sector and it is a testament to our system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here,” Hinds said. “Today we are providing clarity and certainty on their fees for the duration of their courses.”

This clearly does not represent a long-term solution but is likely to be welcomed by HE institutions as a necessary short-term step, to clarify the position of EU students.

The HE Commission is due to publish its report on HE Exports in September. 


Universities Minister Calls for a Better Deal for Students
June 8, 2018

Speaking at the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) conference  (7 June) Sam Gyimah said there are courses on offer that do not lead to rewarding careers and made clear that all students deserve an excellent university experience.

The Minister was speaking ahead of the publication of new analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), commissioned by the Department for Education, which confirms a vast difference in earnings potential for graduates – emphasising the fact that where and what you study really matters and can significantly affect future earnings and career prospects.

The IFS analysis shows that women who study one of the bottom 100 courses have earnings up to 64% (approximately £17,000) less than the average degree after graduation. For men, it can be up to 67% (approximately £21,000).

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:

Today’s publication has important and far-reaching ramifications for the debate on value for money in Higher Education.

These findings demonstrate that studying the same subject at a different institution can yield a very different earnings premium. The choices that students make about what and where to study does matter.

We must build a system where everyone with the ability to benefit from a university education has the opportunity to attend, the information they need to make the right decision, and that when they go to university, they receive a first-rate education that delivers real value for money.

The Minister went on to challenge universities to review their offer to students: Read more

University ‘Student Outcomes’ Funding Cut
May 15, 2018

A number of post-92 English universities will lose a considerable amount of direct teaching funding next year.

The Office for Students announced that funding allocated to prevent disadvantaged students from dropping out of university would be reduced by £30 million to £165 million in 2018-19 for full-time undergraduates.  

This reduction in the “premium to support successful outcomes” is one of the main reasons behind the overall drop. London Metropolitan University, Leeds Beckett University and Manchester Metropolitan University will have their funding cut by over £1 million.

Since the hike in tuition fees in 2012, direct teaching grants have not been as important to universities. Yet they will provide £1.3 billion in revenue to institutions next year.  

Read the Article Here.

HE Policy Institute Report
April 6, 2018

The HE Policy Institute (HEPI) published a new report looking at demand for higher education over the next decade and painting a positive picture with changes in demography and participation likely to fuel demand potentially to some 300,000 extra students but with issues like Brexit, funding and reputation likely to remain defining factors.

Access The Report Here

UK University Dropout Rate Rises Again
March 13, 2018

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that the percentage of young UK students dropping out of higher education before their second year has increased – for the third year in a row. Yet the dropout rate for students at Scottish universities is the lowest it has been for 19 years.

For the first time in a generation, the retention rate for students in Scotland better than the UK average.

Just 6.2% gave up their studies before their second year in Scotland compared with the UK average of 6.4%.

Scottish institutions have been trying to improve the further education experience for students to make sure they get the most out of their time.

Across the UK, the 6.4% figure signifies a rise for the third year in a row.

The new figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency cover the academic year of 2015-2016.

Read The Full Article Here


University Offers Science Degree Online for £5,650 Per Year
March 7, 2018

The University of London is to announce a fully fledged undergraduate degree course completely taught online for £5,650 per year over three years.

It is aimed at encouraging more part-time, working students, following a fall in their numbers after the increase in tuition fees in England.

There are plans for 3,000 students to take the computer science course.

It comes as the prime minister’s review of tuition fees aims to encourage more flexible and cheaper ways to study.

The review follows concerns about the high cost of university, with average graduate debts of more than £50,000.

‘Step change’

The University of London claims to have been the first university in the world to offer distance learning – with correspondence courses in the 1850s. Read more

LLAKES Paper Calls For A New National Learning Entitlement
March 6, 2018

The paper sets out a proposal for a National Learning Entitlement as a means of supporting all post-secondary students.

The proposal takes the debate beyond the current narrow focus on university education and student debt, to a broader and more inclusive system which would encourage learning at all ages by a diverse range of students, at a lower cost than the abolition of university fees. It would be valid for further and adult education colleges as well as higher education. The entitlement would be pitched at around £5K per year, but could be used flexibly for part-time study, and spread over a lifetime. 

“By going beyond university students the NLE spreads public subsidy far more equitably and efficiently. It brings into play the other 50% of the youth cohort, as well as adults who have missed out first time round. It strongly encourages diversity of provision and so matches supply better to demand.”

Download The Full Report Here

The Office for Students Framework
March 1, 2018

The Office for Students (OfS), has officially published their new regulatory framework at their launch conference in Westminster on 28th February 2018.

The document, Securing student success: Regulatory framework for higher education in England“, sets out how the OfS – the new regulator for higher education in England – will carry out its work from April 2018 onwards.

The speech given at the  launch conference, by Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Sam Gyimah MP can be read in full here but includes these aims: Read more

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