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

115,000 to miss university place

C. Gammell

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 14th 2010, p. 2

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service reports a 16.5% increase in applications for places on university courses starting Autumn 2010 compared with 2009. If current trends continue until the Summer deadline, 610,635 students could be fighting for 494,000 places, leaving record numbers disappointed.

Fewer state pupils win a place at Cambridge

G. Paton

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

Official figures show that only 1675 undergraduates admitted to Cambridge University in 2009 were from state schools or colleges, a fall of five per cent from 2008 numbers. The number of students admitted from fee-paying schools rose by 3%. The university insisted that the 2009 drop was countered by a significant rise in the proportion of state school entrants recorded in 2008.

Future arrangements for funding higher education

L. Dearden and others

Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2010

This report advises that ministers should consider imposing higher interest rates and a longer repayment period for student loans, leading to bigger interest payments from higher earning graduates. One scenario said that students could be charged 5% interest, but only be allowed to pay back 5.8% of their salary above the 15,000 threshold. This would lead to the richest graduates paying interest of 10,200 on a 20,900 loan. The poorest 10% would benefit because they would be unlikely to pay back the loan before the deadline.

Students 'pressed to be positive' in university survey

B. Kenber & M. Taylor

The Times, Apr. 27th 2010, p.4

Documents released by HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) have shown that eight British universities have been accused of applying undue pressure to ensure their students respond positively to the National Student Survey. Many students were told that giving high scores to their course would 'improve the value of the degree' while at other universities, lecturers and staff filled out the survey on behalf of their students. The results of the survey are used in the construction of national league tables in higher education.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Apr 27th 2010, p.2)

Universities face cuts of up to 12%

L. Phillips

Public Finance, Mar. 19th-25th 2010, p. 8

Reports that the Higher Education Funding Council for England has set out how 7.3bn of grants, a reduction of 573m on 2009/10, will be distributed to universities in 2010/11. Aside from major cutbacks to capital projects and funding for national programmes in areas such as IT and employer liaison, 76m will be taken from funding for preserving historic buildings, some postgraduate provision and support for foundation degrees. Budgets for other areas of teaching, research and widening participation are largely being protected.

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