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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2010): Education - UK - higher

20,000 for degrees that lead to a well paid job

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 29th 2010, p. 12

Researchers tested a series of hypothetical scenarios on a group of 81 university applicants. They found that few students would be willing to pay higher tuition fees for places at elite universities. However, they were much more willing to contemplate paying a premium for a particular course leading directly to a well-paid job. The report concludes that differential fees between courses should be considered.

Children from poor families failed in race for university places

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 28th 2010, p. 12

Figures released by the Higher Education Funding Council for England show that the gap between the number of rich and poor teenagers attending university has widened slightly since the mid-1990s. In 2009, 19% of students from the most deprived neighbourhoods went on to a degree course straight from school, compared to 57% from the most affluent areas.

Class of 2009 will take this year's job offers

R. Garner

The Independent, Jan. 13th 2010, p. 18

This year's university graduates will struggle just as hard to find a job after completing their studies despite an 11.8 per cent increase in the number of jobs on offer. Figures from the country's leading 100 employers show that for the first time in three years the number of graduate jobs available is set to rise. However, most of the vacancies will be taken up by last year's graduates who were offered jobs but found them withdrawn as a result of the recession or who have been unemployed for months but doing work experience with employers. At least one in four jobs have gone already.

(See also The Times, Jan. 13th 2010, p. 23)

First-class graduates double in a decade

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 15th 2010, p.12

A record one in seven students graduated from university with a first-class degree in 2010, underlining concerns over grade inflation. More than 43,000 first class degrees were awarded , almost double the number a decade before. There are claims that examiners are being 'leant on' to mark positively in order to help universities climb the national and international rankings.

Study shows 50% rise in likelihood of England's poorest teenagers going to university since mid-90s

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Jan. 28th 2010, p. 10

Research by HEFCE shows young people from the poorest households are now 30% more likely to go to university than they were five years ago. But they're still less likely to go to university than youngsters from the richest backgrounds.

(See also The Independent, Jan. 28th 2010, p. 13)

Thousands 'will miss out on university'

M. Wardrop

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 4th 2010, p. 6

Steve Smith, president of Universities UK, has said that government funding cuts will force institutions to slash numbers of courses, students and staff. He predicts that public spending on universities will be reduced by about 30% over the next three years. (See also Daily Telegraph, Jan. 13th 2010, p.10 and Daily Telegraph, Feb. 2nd 2010, p.4 for comment by Russell Group of elite universities)

Universities tell Gordon Brown: cuts will bring us to our knees

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Jan. 12th 2010, p. 1

Top universities have accused Gordon Brown of jeopardising 800 years of higher education and warn that they could quickly be "brought to their knees" by the government's spending cuts of up to 2.5bn, thereby damaging Britain's ability to recover from recession. The leaders of the Russell Group of 20 elite universities, which includes Warwick, Liverpool and Glasgow universities as well as Oxford and Cambridge, say that ministers have failed to appreciate one of the "jewels in the country's crown". Wendy Piatt, the group's director general, and Michael Arthur, its chair and the vice-chancellor of Leeds University, warn that at least 30 institutions could disappear, and the rest face possible "meltdown". The intervention comes amid accusations that the cabinet is split over whether to be more open about the need for spending cuts.

Universities to reject 200,000 applicants as demand soars

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Jan. 15th 2010, p. 21

According to figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), record numbers of students are taking up places at UK universities. More than 1.14m students started undergraduate courses in 2008/09 - a jump of 7% on the previous year. Because of this unprecedented demand, up to 200,000 prospective university students are likely to miss out on a place this year.

Universities push for rise in tuition fees as funding chiefs plot 315m budget cut

G. Hurst

The Times, Jan. 28th 2010, p. 5

University chiefs are to meet to decide how to deal with significant budget cuts. Decisions will be agreed at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) board meeting in London and the amount allocated to each university will be announced in March. The Chancellors of some of the most prestigious and selective want tuition fees to be increased from 3,225 per year to between 5,000 and 7,000 to help reduce the funding deficit.

(See also The Guardian, Feb. 2nd 2010, p.12; The Independent, Feb. 2nd 2010, p. 5)

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