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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2009): Education - UK - higher

Crisis blows 250m hole in university funding

A. Lipsett and P. Curtis

The Guardian, Dec. 12th 2008, p. 1 & 2

At least 250m has been wiped from the endowment funds of leading British universities as a result of the global economic downturn. Oxford and Cambridge are understood to be the biggest losers, though there are fears that the worst is yet to come.

Former polytechnics give Oxbridge a run for its money in new research rankings

A. Frean

The Times, Dec. 18th 2008, p. 24 - 25

The latest Research Assessment Exercise has indicated that for certain subjects former polytechnics are outperforming Russell Group institutions. The University of Westminster scored particularly highly for their Media Arts and Design department which achieved a ranking of 'world leading' for 60 per cent of its research publications. The format of the RAE is set to change for the next exercise in 2013. This will use citations and other more easily accessible measures as a cost saving exercise.

Hard truth about 'soft' subjects

A. Fazackerley and J. Chant

Policy Exchange, 2008 (Research note)

Research shows that elite universities are refusing places to sixth formers who have taken A-levels in media studies, music technology, sports studies, travel and tourism and art and design. The universities say that such subjects fail to provide adequate preparation for study at degree level. Opposition to soft subjects among top universities is undermining government attempts to widen access to higher education, since comprehensive schools are most likely to encourage pupils to take easy A-levels. The report calls for all universities to publish lists of subjects deemed unacceptable and for improved careers advice to prevent pupils being directed onto poor courses.

Jobless middle classes get study cash

R. Prince and J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 9th 2008, p. 1

Middle class professionals who lose their jobs in the current recession are to be helped with government money to study for a master's degree or business qualification. Higher education institutions will be given 120m of public money to fund bursaries and new courses.

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