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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Education - UK - higher

The future size and shape of the higher education sector in the UK: threats and opportunities.

N. Brown and others

Universities UK, 2008

This report forecasts a sharp decline in student numbers over the next 20 years. It predicts that the number of full-time undergraduate places will drop to between 789,000 and 915,000 by 2026/27 due to lack of demand. Rising student fees and a decline in public funding are expected, leading to a reduction in the number of higher education institutions. Public expenditure on higher education is likely to suffer from funding being diverted to cope with population ageing, and is considered unlikely that employers will contribute unless they are offered tax incentives for training. The report predicts the creation of a small group of elite universities with high fees, strong research departments and large numbers of foreign students. Elite institutions will be complemented by virtual institutions offering distance learning delivered via the Internet and regional training centres for private and public sector employers.

Plan for university-primary links

P. Curtis

The Guardian, July 2nd 2008, p. 12

The government is set to recommend a scheme which involves universities and primary schools forming partnerships in an attempt to encourage more young people to set their sights on attending university.

Students with great expectations are heading for a reality pay check

N. Woolcock

The Times, July 14th 2008, p. 14

Research by a PhD student at Southampton University indicates that university undergraduates are on average misjudging their starting salary by more than 2,000. The research points to an increasing gap between the expectations of students and the reality of the job market. It is now common for graduates to leave university with 30,000 of debt while the average national starting salary is 16,600.

Universities shun A-levels for own admissions tests

R. Garner

The Independent, July 17th 2008, p. 3

At least 18 universities are setting their own admissions tests because they believe they can no longer rely on A-level results alone to gauge a candidate's ability. The body representing vice-chancellors - Universities UK - estimates that one in seven of its 132 members has introduced such exams.

The Guardian, July 10th 2008, p. 11

University staff encouraged to award more first-class degrees so it can match rival

A. Frean

The Times, July 2nd 2008, p. 5

An internal memo at Manchester Metropolitan University has told staff that there is an 'understandable desire' to increase the proportion of first-class and upper-second-class degrees in order to remain competitive. In the country as a whole, the number of students achieving a first-class degree has more than doubled since the mid 1990s.

Upper second loses a degree of kudos as bosses settle for 2.2s

A. Frean

The Times, July 8th 2008, p.11

A survey by the Association of Graduate Researchers has indicated that companies are dropping their recruitment criteria from a 2.1 to a 2.2 in order to broaden the pool of talent from which they recruit. The chief executive of the association, Carl Gilleard, has said that 2.2 degrees were becoming increasingly acceptable as employers seek to find recruits with the appropriate skill base as well as academic credentials.

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