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

Better-off students may lose university bursaries

C. Gammell

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 22nd 2010, p. 2

The Office for Fair Access (Offa) has suggested that bursaries offered by universities should always be means-tested, while Oxford University has advised that government loans should favour students from low-income families. The institutions presented their proposals in submissions to the current independent review of tuition fees, loans and grants.

Crackdown on foreign student visas prompts funding fears

O. Bowcott

The Guardian, Feb. 11th 2010, p. 7

Tougher visa regulations for overseas students have been unveiled by the Home Office amid warnings that they could severely restrict funding for colleges and universities. Vice-chancellors have complained that a decision last month to suspend student visa applications from large parts of the Indian subcontinent is already affecting enrolments and a report by civil liberties group the Manifesto Club claims that the tightening of the visa system has already barred thousands of genuine students from the UK. Meanwhile, Study Group, which runs independent colleges in the UK, claims students from outside the EU contribute 120,000 each to the economy.

Generation of school leavers 'abandoned'

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 9th 2010, p. 1 + 2

A record number of young people have applied for courses at British universities for the 2010 academic year, leading to fears that as many as 300,000 could be left without a place. The rise in applications comes against a background of significant cuts to university budgets and a freeze in the number of available places. It is partly being fuelled by students reapplying after being rejected in 2009 and by an increase in the number of applications from mature students.

Hearing the voices of disabled students in higher education

P. Vickerman and M. Blundell

Disability and Society, vol.25, 2010, p. 21-32

Since the return of the Labour government to power in 1997, inclusive policies and practices have risen up the political and statutory agenda in higher education. However, despite the growing interest in issues around inclusion, the voices of disabled students have rarely been heard. This paper reports on insights into the views and experiences of disabled students in one higher education institution gained through the administration of a questionnaire and four face-to-face in-depth interviews. The research identified five key issues that should be addressed in order to enable access to higher education. These are pre-course induction support, commitment by institutions to facilitating barrier-free curricula, consultation with disabled students, institutional commitment to develop support services and embedding of personal development planning.

History of England starts at 1700, says university

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 12th 2010, p. 9

In response to government funding cuts, Sussex University has scrapped research and in-depth teaching related to English history prior to 1700 and European history before 1900. Critics say that the decision is short sighted and risks undermining public understanding of the past.

Improving learning by widening participation in higher education

M. David and others (editors)

London: Routledge, 2010

This book provides research evidence, via both qualitative studies and quantitative datasets, on the policies, processes, pedagogies and practices of widening or increasing participation in higher education. The research also considers: the changing UK policy contexts of post-compulsory education; how socio-economically disadvantaged students fare through schools and into post-compulsory education; the kinds of academic and vocational courses undertaken; the changing forms of institutional and pedagogic practices within higher education; and how adults view the role of higher education in their lives.

More fees please? The future of university fees for undergraduate students

A. Fazackerley and J. Chant

Policy Exchange, 2010

Research shows that universities, faced with government funding cuts, are preparing to abandon some courses to save money, especially the most expensive, such as degrees in science subjects. They are also planning to recruit more overseas students to bring in extra cash, as these can be charged higher fees than British students. The report concludes that tuition fees will have to rise to a minimum of 5,000 per year to safeguard Britain's position as a global leader in higher education. It recommends that students from wealthy homes should no longer be eligible for interest-free government loans to cover fees; these should only be available to teenagers from the poorest backgrounds. Students from upper and middle income families should be forced to borrow at commercial rates, or be subsidised by their parents.


University applications reach record levels for fourth year

A. Bawden and W. Mansell

The Guardian, Feb. 9th 2010, p. 16

More than 200,000 would-be students are likely to be left without a place at a UK university this year as undergraduate applications reach record levels for the fourth year running. Applications are almost a fifth up on last year, according to the latest figures from the university admissions service, Ucas. So far, more than 570,000 students have applied for a place at university in 2010, an increase of more than 100,000 at the same time in 2009.

(See also The Times, Feb. 9th 2010, p. 14)

University crisis: thousands to lose jobs as funding is cut

J. Shepherd and O. Bowcott

The Guardian, Feb. 8th 2010, p. 1, 2 & 10

Universities across the country are preparing to axe thousands of teaching jobs, close campuses and ditch courses to cope with government funding cuts. Other plans include using post-graduates rather than professors for teaching and the delay of major building projects. The proposals have already provoked ballots for industrial action at a number of universities in the past week raising fears of strike action which could severely disrupt lectures and examinations.

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