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

Arts degree 'leaves some worse off than leaving school at 18'

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 19th 2010, p. 5

Research has found a strong overall wage 'premium' for university education, suggesting that average debts accumulated while studying are outweighed by an increase in lifetime earnings. However, there are significant differences depending on gender, degree grade and course subject. Female graduates were found to earn far more than those leaving school at 18, regardless of their degree. However, huge negative effects were associated with the study of arts, humanities and social science subjects at degree level among men. The study compared the fortunes of around 80,000 people, graduates and those who left school at 18, between 1997 and 2009.

Cable: university fees will be capped

E. Ashton

The Independent, Oct.25th 2010, p. 13

According to the business secretary Vince Cable 'there is no prospect of the government allowing unlimited degree tuition fees', despite Lord Browne recommending that universities in England should be free to set their own fees.

Coalition funding plans will cost us, says Oxford

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 8

In a letter posted to the university's website, Oxford University's vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton has warned that steep raises in tuition fees will not offset cuts to the overall higher education budget (from 7.1bn to 4.2bn) and will leave the 800 year old institution facing a shortfall.

Cuts 'will trigger brain drain'

P. Hutchison

Daily Telegraph, Oct.1st 2010, p. 2

Leading scientists have warned that they are prepared to move to better funded positions abroad if the coalition government's spending review cuts university research budgets. The Business Secretary has indicated that the government will cut its 6bn a year research budget and strip out 'mediocrity', with only top-flight work attracting funding.

Degree in England may soon be most expensive in the world

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 1st 2010, p. 16

Research by the University and College Union has shown that a small rise in tuition fees would push England to the top of a league table of the most costly places to study, overtaking the United States and Ireland. The Union has called on the coalition government to scrap a proposed increase in tuition fees to avoid the 'unenviable' tag and seek alternatives.

Increasing university income from home and overseas students: what impact for social mobility?

Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics

Sutton Trust, 2010

This report claims that English undergraduates could be charged more than 16,000 per year in tuition fees (the same as students recruited from overseas) if the government allows higher education institutions to set their own prices. It warns that any move by the government to introduce a free market in tuition fees would harm poor students, who would be priced out of elite universities. There are also concerns that colleges could focus on recruiting overseas students, crowding out British applicants and damaging the student-lecturer ratio. The research examined the fees charged to overseas students in 2009 which are not subject to a cap. It argues that the figures give an indication of what an unregulated market in fees might look like.

Lecturers' attitudes to inclusive teaching practice at a UK university: will staff 'resistance' hinder implementation?

M. Smith

Tertiary Education and Management, Vol. 16, 2010, p. 211-227

Higher education institutions in the UK are required, by law, to make anticipatory reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities. Inclusive teaching practice, if adopted across the sector, would ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are considered and provided for, before they even arrive on campus. This paper sets out the background and key findings from an institutional research project at a UK university that aimed to discover if academic staff's attitudes would be problematic or conducive to the implementation of inclusive teaching practice. The paper concludes that there is little evidence of widespread 'resistance' but rather, the research discovered a prevailing belief in the right of students with disabilities to education, albeit a belief which is limited in its practical application in the classroom. The paper also reports on a number of recommendations made to the case study university as a result of this research.

LSE raises spectre of private universities

R. Garner

The Independent, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 22

Some of Britain's leading universities could consider going private if the government decides to retain a cap on tuition fees - potentially pricing students out of the market. The dilemma facing universities is that the cuts in funding for teaching - only science, engineering, technology, maths and possibly some modern foreign languages will be paid for by the state - put more pressure on them to raise tuition fees to maintain high standards.

(See also The Guardian, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 14)

No-brain tax

M. Johnson

Public Policy Research, June-Aug. 2010, p. 108-113

Looking back at Vince Cable's proposals for the introduction of a graduate tax to replace undergraduate tuition fees at English universities, this article considers the impact of such a change in the funding model for higher education from the three perspectives:

  1. classifying the value of higher education
  2. financial implications for universities
  3. financial implications for the public purse.

It is concluded that introducing a graduate tax would achieve little more than improvements to the current system could offer.

Oxford warns fees rise won't make up for cuts

N. Collins

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 28th 2010, p. 10

University vice-chancellors are expressing growing unease over the depth of coalition government cuts to higher education teaching budgets. The vice-chancellor of Oxford University has warned that increasing tuition fees to 7,000 would not be enough to offset the 2.9bn cut in university teaching funding announced in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.

The part-time student's experience 1996-2007: an issue of identity and marginalisation?

J. Williams and D. Kane

Tertiary Education and Management, Vol. 16, 2010, p. 183-209

Part-time study is one of the foci of the widening participation agenda in the UK. The experiences of part-time students, however, have received remarkably little attention from scholars, especially in a comparative context. This paper explores existing historical data going back over a decade to identify the main themes of part-time students experience at a number of UK higher education institutions and how it compares and contrasts with the full-time experience. The surveys use the Student Satisfaction Approach. The main themes emerging from institutional survey data over time are the work/family/study balance, assessment and feedback, access to learning and catering resources, and students' financial situation. There is sometimes a question of identity, but unlike many studies of the part-time student experience, which focus on aspects of disadvantage, and social and cultural capital, the data for this paper indicate that many part-time students have a sense of themselves as being ignored or at worst marginalised in contemporary higher education.

Penalty for graduates who pay off student loans early

R. Prince

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 25th 2010, p. 5

In order to make the student loans system more progressive, graduates who opt to pay off their debts early could be hit by mortgage-style redemption fees, according to business secretary Vince Cable. Fees would also be levied on parents who opted to pay upfront for the cost of putting their child through university to save them from being saddled with long term debt.

Rebellious Lib Dem MPs may defeat plans for huge rise in tuition fees

R. Garner

The Independent, Oct. 8th 2010, p. 4

Plans for a massive rise in student tuition fees are in danger of being defeated by rebellious Lib Dem MPs. The long-awaited inquiry by Lord Browne, is expected to recommend that the current cap on tuition fees of 3,290 is lifted. The report will rule out a graduate tax, originally favoured by the Liberal Democrats.

(See also The Guardian, Oct. 13th 2010, p. 1 and Oct. 14th 2010 p. 19)

Rich graduates to fare better in Browne review

P. Wintour, J. Vasagar and J. Shepherd

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

Based on models prepared by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the National Union of Students, graduates earning between 35,000 and 60,000 a year are likely to have to pay more in fees and interest than those earning over 100,000.

(See also the Independent, Oct. 12th 2010, p. 6 and Oct. 13th 2010, p. 8 and The Times, Oct.12th 2010, p.15)

Securing a sustainable future for higher education: an independent review of higher education funding and student finance

Lord Browne of Madingley

London: Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 2010

These recommendations present a radical plan to shake up higher education in England and a charter for choice for students, who will be entrusted with far more power to shape their own future. Under a new system, to be called the Student Finance Plan, no student would pay anything until they graduate and are in work. After leaving university, graduates would only begin repaying loans when they reached annual earnings of over 21,000 a year, up from 15,000 under the current system. The current cap on fees of 3,290 per year would be removed, allowing universities to put quality first and charge accordingly. A tapered levy on institutions charging more than 6,000 per year would ensure that those which charge the most contribute more to supporting the poorest students. In addition, universities that wish to charge more would be required to demonstrate to the regulator and to their students both improved standards of teaching and fair admission. Careers advice is in need of a radical overhaul. Part of empowering our young people is ensuring they have the right information, advice and guidance to make the correct choice. This means careers advice in all schools of the kind currently being given in the private sector. Those who wish to pursue part-time study should have equal entitlement to tuition support under the Student Finance Plan. Part-time study provides a second chance for people who missed out earlier in their lives and it is important to level the playing field between part-time and full-time study.


Students cheated of university places by part-marked exams

N. Woolcock

The Times, Oct 5th 2010, p.10

The biggest exam board, the Assessments and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) has admitted that 480 students received inaccurate results for their GCSEs or A levels this summer because only parts of their exam scripts were marked. Ofqual, the exams regulator, has announced an immediate investigation.

Third of applicants miss out on a university place

J. Sugden

The Times, Oct.21st 2010, p.18

This year the highest number of applicants ever were rejected. UCAS warned that an even greater proportion would be disappointed next year as sixth formers try to get places before the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2012.

Universities banking on the old boy (and girl) network

N. Woolcock

Times, Oct. 29th 2010, p. 24

Hard-up universities are aiming to raise money in future by persuading their alumni to donate to US-style fundraising campaigns. In response to deep cuts in state funding, universities are recruiting teams of professional fundraisers to entice graduates to donate money from the minute they finish their degrees, by which time they will be thousands of pounds in debt. Such intense lobbying is beginning to pay off, with more than 500m given to universities in charitable donations in 2009.

Universities face closure as tuition fee rise favours elite

G. Hurst and S. Coates

The Times, Oct. 13th 2010, p.1 & 10 - 11

Lord Browne of Madingley has recommended lifting the cap on university tuition fees and creating a market in the university sector. Lord Browne said that fees of 7,000 would only replace the cuts in higher education expected in the spending review. He has also suggested that teaching grants for all but a few essential courses be cut. Responses to his report indicate that the proposed changes (if implemented) could see some universities being forced to close or to merge as it is likely that they would now face serious financial difficulty.

Universities win fight against 'unbearable' levy on high fees

J. Sugden, G. Hurst

The Times, Oct.22nd 2010, p.6

Universities will be allowed to charge higher fees without penalty after vice-chancellors pushed the government to reject unlimited fees with levies on amounts of more than 6,000 a year.

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