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

180,000 university applicants to be turned away, despite empty places

R. Garner

The Independent, Aug. 5th 2010, p. 4

Universities will start the new academic year with thousands of unfilled places despite record numbers of applicants being turned away. Fear of fines for over-recruitment has led many universities to cut back on offers of places at a time when a record 660,995 applications have been received (200,000 more than there are places).

(See also The Independent, Aug. 12th 2010, p. 14; The Independent, Aug. 20th 2010, p. 13)

Banned: pupils who resit their A-Levels

G. Paton and L. Brown

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 17th 2010, p. 6

More students are expected to resit their A-Levels to improve their grades in the light of fierce competition for university places. Some universities have signalled that they will expect students who resit to achieve grades higher than the standard entry qualifications in some subjects. The universities of Cambridge and Oxford have stated that they will only consider grades obtained by students after repeating a year in exceptional circumstances.

Coalition comes out in favour of graduate tax

F. Elliott and J. Sugden

The Times, Aug. 9th 2010, p.1

It is likely that graduates will face paying thousands of pounds more for their degrees after the government announced that a tax on their future earnings was its preferred option for university funding.

Corporatisation, competitiveness, commercialisation: new logics in the globalising of UK higher education

S. Robertson

Globalisation, Societies and Education, vol. 8, 2010, p. 191-203

This paper examines the changing form and scope of higher education in the UK with a specific focus on contemporary, globalising developments within the sector and beyond. It examines how higher education in the UK has been restructured through the mobilisation of three key logics: corporatisation, competitiveness and commercialisation. It argues that from the early 1980s onward, successive rounds on neo-liberal political projects - informed by these logics - were mobilised to rework the basis of capital accumulation, with the effect of predisposing HEIs toward new regionalising and globalising fields of action.

Diploma students fail to get into leading universities

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 16th 2010, p. 6

It has emerged that leading universities have either received no applications from young people with diplomas, or have refused to offer them places on a degree course. The diplomas, which combine academic study with practical work, were introduced by New Labour in 2008 as a potential replacement for A-Levels and GCSEs. The coalition government has confirmed that it will scrap them in academic subjects.

Fears for state pupils as top universities insist on A* at A-level

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Aug. 3rd 2010, p. 4

The government watchdog on fair access to higher education has warned that increasing numbers of state school pupils from the poorest backgrounds may be turned away by elite universities asking for A* grades at A-level.

Full universities turn away record number of students

J. Shepherd and F.Grove-White

The Guardian, Aug. 10th 2010, p. 1

A Guardian poll of 38 universities showed demand for university places had increased 11.6% in 2010 so that nine days ahead of A-level results, universities like Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Warwick had no places left of any of their courses. University leaders predicted as many as 170,000 students could be left without a place on a degree course. In 2009 the figure was 130,000.

(See also: The Independent, Aug. 9th 2010, p. 9)

Graduate tax will give foreigners free education, universities warn

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 10th 2010, p.8

It is reported that the coalition government is in favour of replacing student fees with a levy similar to income tax based on earnings. However, universities have warned that it would be impossible to recoup the cash from overseas students who returned to their home countries after graduation. The system would also encourage British graduates to live abroad to avoid paying. There are also concerns that university autonomy could be threatened as funds raised by the tax would be allocated to institutions by the Treasury.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Aug. 9th 2010, p. 1+2)

High-earning graduates could face 20% levy on top of tuition fees

R. Booth

The Guardian, Aug. 16th 2010, p. 7

A proposed system of surcharges to secure greater contributions from students towards the cost of their university education could see higher earning graduates paying a 20 per cent levy, while graduates on low incomes would pay nothing. The graduate contribution system is being considered by Lord Browne, a former chief executive of BP, who will publish his review of higher education funding in October 2010.

Off to uni? No, staying at home and working part-time

R. Williams

The Guardian, Aug. 17th 2010, p. 1 & 2

A review to university finance is expected to propose that student loans, currently available only to full-time students, are extended to part-time students to cover the fees that they currently pay upfront. Such a move could considerably change the way that university education is viewed and a three year, full-time undergraduate degree may cease to be the norm.

One in ten with A-Levels or degree is a Neet

M. Beckford

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 18th 2010, p. 12

Analysis of figures in the Labour Force Survey shows that gaining A-levels or a university degree no longer guarantees a job. In the first quarter of 2008, just 7.5% of graduates were classed as not in employment, education or training (NEET). By the second quarter of 2010, this figure had risen to 11.4%, more than one tenth of university graduates. In 2008 only 6.4% of A-Level students were NEETS, but the figure had risen to 9.1% in 2010.

Private universities receive surge of interest

R. Williams

The Guardian, Aug. 18th 2010, p.4

Private universities and other degree providers in the UK have seen a surge of interest following the reduction in student places at public institutions. Buckingham University, the country's first private university which opened in 1976, has announced that inquiries about places were up 15% on August 2009.

School leavers to miss out as universities cut places

J. Sugden and H. Chambers

The Times, Aug. 16th 2010, p.1 & 13

A record shortage of university vacancies will leave qualified candidates unlikely to secure a place on a degree courseduring the university admissions clearing process this year. 156,640 students are expected to compete for 21,400 available undergraduate places when the A-level results are released. This means that 6 out of 7 of the qualified candidates will fail to secure a place.

(See also The Independent, Aug. 20th 2010, p. 2)

Top universities reach out in vain to students from families on low incomes

G. Hurst

The Times, Aug. 5th 2010, p. 15

Fewer than one tenth of undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge qualified for a full maintenance grant in 2009, which is nearly three times lower than the proportion for all universities. The figures from the Office for Fair Access came despite higher spending on bursaries and outreach work with students from state schools.

(See also The Guardian, August 5th 2010, p. 2)

Undergraduates facing loan delays for a second year

M. Moore and L. Brown

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 13th 2010, p. 1 + 2

Students have been warned that they may not receive their full loans in time for the start of the new academic year because the Student Loans Company is struggling with a backlog of applications for the second successive year. It is expected that there will be 80,000 more first time applicants than in 2009.

Universities 'need quota of poor students'

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 23rd 2010, p. 1

The universities minister, David Willetts, has said that universities should set aside a number of places for children from poor backgrounds. In an attempt to boost social mobility, they should admit bright applicants from deprived homes with lower A-level grades than their middle class peers.

Universities swamped in mad dash for places

G. Hurst and J. Sugden

The Times, Aug. 20th 2010, p. 1

Research by The Times has found that 80 per cent of places available in the university clearing process were filled within hours of candidates receiving their results. Vice-chancellors have said that the calibre of applicants looking for places was the highest they had known. (See also The Guardian, Aug. 19th, 2010, p.1)

University candidates selected on their GCSE results

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 24th 2010, p. 1 + 2

Research by the Daily Telegraph has shown that a growing number of universities are using applicants' GCSE results as a crude preliminary filter as competition for undergraduate places increases. Some leading universities now require students to gain a string of A or A* grades at GCSE as well as good A-levels. This approach penalises late developers and forces children to make decisions about their career at the age of 13, when GCSE options are chosen.

University crisis to hit GCSE students

R. Williams

The Guardian, Aug. 24th 2010, p. 1

Pupils who do less well in their GCSEs face being squeezed out of further education opportunities as colleges snap up high performing applicants who have failed to get into university, the lecturers' union has warned.

University reform to hit middle class

G. Paton and J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 19th 2010, p. 1 +4

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has suggested that school-leavers from more affluent homes have taken up a disproportionate number of degree places in recent years. He has signalled that reforms to university finance could be used to push youngsters from poor backgrounds towards higher education.

Worst university cuts 'since 1930s'

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 13th 2010, p. 2

Vice-chancellors have been warned that university funding may be reduced by 35% over the next five years. This would be the equivalent of the 5441 annual government subsidy for each student being reduced to 3537. Universities are expected to respond by scrapping loss-making courses, increasing class sizes, and recruiting more foreign students.

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