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

Cable begins universities revolution

J. Shephard and J. Vasagar

The Guardian, July 16th 2010, p.1, 6 & 7

Vince Cable, the cabinet minister responsible for higher education, has signalled the biggest shake-up of Britain's universities for a generation. He has outlined measures which will see the removal of the current student loan system to be replaced by a graduate tax. The measures also include support for private universities and the closure of struggling institutions. He raised the prospect of introducing quotas to ensure that state school pupils are granted places at Britain's top universities.

Cable initiates the age of the two-year degree

A. Grice

The Independent, July 14th 2010, p. 8

Two-year degrees, more part time courses and more students living with their parents while in higher education are among the measures proposed by the coalition government as it begins the task of reducing the £155bn deficit.

Cut places not funding, says university chief

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, July 14th 2010, p.1&2

Malcolm Grant, the head of University College London, has said that elite universities fear that the government is poised to cut research funding. He has argued that such a move would 'decimate Britain's global competitiveness in research'. Grant has argued that cuts in student numbers may suggest that there should be fewer universities, which raises further questions about which universities remain open and the position of elite and research heavy universities.

(See also The Times, July 14th 2010, p. 15)

Good news for students: an end to tuition fees. Bad news: graduates to pay new tax

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, July 15th 2010, p.3

Vince Cable, the skills secretary, will today outline plans for a new graduate tax to replace the tuition fees system. Under the system, the government would pay fees directly to universities and then graduates would pay the money back to government once in full-time employment in the form of tax. The union which represents university lecturers has suggested that the scheme is merely a 'rebranding exercise'.

(See also The Times, July 16th 2010, p.3)

Graduate tax to be vetoed by ministers


Daily Telegraph, July 22nd 2010, p. 8

There are signs of a split in the Coalition government over plans for a tax on graduates to pay for higher education, an idea favoured by Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable. Conservatives are thought to believe that it would be unfair to ask high-earning graduates to pay more than the cost of their degree, and that many would leave the country and work abroad to avoid payment.

Graduates face jobs gloom as 70 apply for every vacancy

N. Woolcock

The Times, July 6th 2010, p.17

The number of graduates chasing each position has doubled over the last 2 years, partly because the number of vacancies fell by 7 per cent in 2010 and 9 per cent in 2009. The hardest hit sectors include retail, IT and telecommunications.

(See also The Guardian, July 6th 2010, p.1)

Minister calls for private universities

J. Swaine

Daily Telegraph, July 26th 2010, p. 2

The minister for universities has called for more private universities to open in the UK to help meet demand for places as state funding is squeezed and to introduce healthy competition into the sector. He argues that private universities could provide more flexibility for students, for instance by offering two-year degree courses instead of the traditional three-year model.

(See also comment by D. Willetts, Minister for Universities, Daily Telegraph, July 26th 2010, p. 2)

New universities could teach but not test for degrees, says Cable

P. Wintour

The Guardian, July 9th 2010, p.2

Business secretary Vince Cable is expected to outline cost-cutting plans for higher education that would allow new institutions to teach students for degrees that would be awarded by prestigious universities.

‘Outdated’ Ucas points system to be reviewed

P. Curtis

The Guardian, July 2nd 2010, p. 8

The Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has announced that it is to review and update its points system which guides university admissions, saying the practice of scoring applicants’ qualifications has become outdated and is wrongly being used by employers to recruit graduates.

Top pupils squeezed out of university

N. Woolcock & J. Sugden

The Times, July 16th 2010, p. 3

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show that there are 170,000 more university applicants this year than there are places. Universities have said that record numbers of qualified applicants will miss out. Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union said, 'It is disgraceful that thousands of applicants will be denied the chance to fulfil their potential at university. The decision to make savage cuts to higher education will come back and haunt this country and will lead to a huge skills deficit.'

Universities and colleges must cut £82m more from budgets

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, July 22nd 2010, p.8

HEFCE has announced that the teaching grants awarded to universities and colleges will be cut by £82m in 2010/11. This affects one hundred and sixty three institutions. Some vice-chancellors and principals say it is too late to impose cuts, when the financial year started in April.

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