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

Middle-class students lose grants

J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 30th 2008, p.1

Middle-class students whose parents earn between 40,000 and 60,000 per year will lose their entitlement to a government grant in 2009/10 after ministers miscalculated the cost of the financial support package. The universities secretary has taken action because financially supporting these students would have cost 200m more than his department had budgeted for.

The Mobile economy

A. Haldenby and others

Reform, 2008

Research by the Reform think tank indicates that thousands of 'spoon-fed' teenagers are dropping out or leaving university with useless qualifications after being pushed onto pointless courses. Many young people take 'Mickey Mouse' degrees that produce little or no financial reward. Others drop out altogether after finding courses too hard. Researchers blamed an over-bureaucratic education system combined with more 'teaching to the test' in schools for producing teenagers overly reliant on tutors and wishing to receive education passively and without effort.

Second chance for university dropouts

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 12th 2008, p. 6

A review ordered by the skills secretary says that universities need to be more flexible to cater for modern undergraduates. Academics should simplify the language used to teach overseas students, and the system of first, second and third class degree grades should be replaced immediately by a new report card. Increased levels of funding are needed to meet extra student demands. There should be more places on two-year foundation degrees that combine study with work-based training as an alternative to longer honours degrees. The introduction of a system in which student dropouts use credits acquired during uncompleted degrees to restart courses later is recommended

Three quarters of students take a job as they struggle to survive on loans

N. Woolcock

The Times, Nov. 25th 2008, p. 18

A survey by the National Union of Students (NUS) has revealed that on average university students work 14 hours per week in paid employment. Approximately 40,000 students (3 per cent) work more than 33 hours a week while studying for a full-time degree. The survey indicates that students from newer and less prestigious universities are likely to work longer hours than those from elite institutions.

Top graduates twice as likely to earn more

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 27th 2008, p. 16

Researchers analysed the job prospects of students attending 38 elite universities. They found that more than 80% of these students were in graduate jobs three and a half years after leaving compared with 75% of students graduating from other universities. Almost one in 20 students from elite universities were found to be earning 50,000 or more. A separate study has shown that many students are being pushed onto 'Mickey Mouse' courses with little or no financial reward.

We're paying the fees so you supply the mod cons, picky students tell universities

N. Woolcock & J. Malvern

The Times, Nov. 17th 2008, p. 4

Universities are having to adjust to the expectations of students who believe that their 3,000 per year fees entitle them to a respectable standard of living and improved services from lecturers. Dr Lang, the Vice-Chancellor of St. Andrews University told university leaders at a conference at Princeton University in New Jersey that students see themselves as consumers of a service and as such expect a return for their money.

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