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

Academics to 'fight alongside' students

A. Hill

The Guardian, Nov. 22nd 2010, p. 8

Nearly 300 academics from 76 universities have written to The Guardian to say they understand the anger of students over higher education cuts and to express their support for planned protests.

Colleges warn May over curb on student visas

A. Travis

The Guardian, Nov. 24th 2010, p. 4

Academics and students have warned the home secretary Theresa May that closing down student visas for those on below-degree courses - about 40% of the annual total - would devastate the finances of further education colleges and mean that British students would have to pay even more for a university degree.

(See also The Independent, Nov. 24th 2010, p. 15)

Elite universities welcome steep rise in fees but fears over fate of poorer students remain

J. Vasagar, J. Shepherd and A. Stratton

The Guardian, Nov 4th 2010, p. 4

The elite Russell Group universities have welcomed government plans to raise tuition fees to 9,000 per year, almost three times the current level. The Million + group of new universities, however, said the rise was unlikely to sustain university funding in the long term and expressed concerns over social mobility. The National Union of Students attacked what its members described as an 'ideological move' to transfer the costs of higher education away from the state and the British Medical Association warned of its devastating effects on young people from poorer background who aspire to be doctors.

(See also The Independent, Nov. 4th 2010, p. 18)

Foreign students to be hard hit by immigration caps

A. Travis

The Guardian, Nov. 19th 2010, p. 8

The home secretary Teresa May is expected to announce deep cuts in the number of student visas as part of the drive to reduce immigration. The decision follows a warning by government immigration experts that the number of non-European students will have to be cut by 50% (83,000) to meet the target for reduction of net migration from 196,000 last year to 50,000 a year.

Impact of tuition fees has been understated, says think-tank

O. Wright

The Independent, Nov 18th 2010, p. 4

The respected economic think-tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies has withdrawn its earlier assessment that up to 30% of students would be better off under the proposed scheme whereby graduates would start paying back tuition fees when they earn 21,000 a year. It is now thought that only 20% of students would benefit. This is because the scheme will come into effect in 2016 when the students leave university and not in 2012 when they enrol. This change means that 21,000 will be worth around 18,500 in today's money due to inflation.

Is higher education in the UK becoming more competitive?

A. Adcroft, J. Teckman and R. Willis

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 23, 2010, p. 578-588

This paper argues that recent changes in the UK higher education sector, particularly the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2006, offer the prospect of real competition between institutions. Competition will deliver significant changes in how universities are organised, managed and regulated.

Lib Dem ministers feel heat as party divides on vote

P. Wintour

The Guardian, Nov. 29th 2010, p. 19

It is understood that the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader Simon Hughes has been pressing for a collective abstention by Lib Dem MPs when they vote on raising tuition fees. The coalition agreement allows them to abstain on this issue, but David Willetts, the university minister, has indicated that he expects ministers to vote for the policy.

(See also The Guardian, Nov. 30th 2010, p. 17 and The Independent, Nov. 30th 2010, p. 22)

Labour to endorse graduate tax

A. Grice

The Independent, Nov. 12th 2010, p. 13

Labour is to endorse a graduate tax as its official policy after Ed Milliband overruled the shadow chancellor Alan Johnson who had previously expressed serious doubts about the idea. The shadow cabinet will now look at whether a graduate tax would be a fairer alternative to higher tuition fees.

Leading universities to ignore tuition fee cap with charges of up to 9,000 a year

G. Hurst

The Times, Nov. 4th 2010, p.25

A radical overhaul of higher education funding means that many universities are expected to break a new 'soft' cap on tuition fees and raise charges to between 7,000 and 9,000 starting in autumn 2012. There will also be changes to student loans and tougher targets for taking students from poor backgrounds.

Loan cuts for the middle class

J. Sugden

The Times, Nov. 10th 2010, p. 18

Students from middle-class families will have their university support cut. Universities Minister David Willetts admitted that last weeks' figures were wrong. It was originally stated that students from families with incomes of 42,000 to 60,000 would be eligible for increased maintenance loans. In fact students from households earning 49,000 to 53,000 will receive on average 120 less, a 2.5 per cent reduction.

Marketing framework in higher education: addressing aspirations of students beyond conventional tenets of selling products

N. T. Ramachandran

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 24, 2010, p. 544-556

In recent years, the higher education (HE) sector has been influenced by a marketised approach. Such an approach has enabled higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase their international presence and also to enhance their student profile. Nevertheless, marketing theories applied to the commercial sector may not be relevant to the HE sector. The purpose of this paper is to examine how the marketing framework has influenced various aspects of HE management and its implications for dealing with student issues. The paper presents a conceptual discussion of the issues. It takes a critical view of the customer metaphor for students and argues that such attempts restrict the rights and privileges that students and the HE sector traditionally enjoyed. Differences between commercial organisations and the HE sector in terms of products developed and the underlying process of development are explored. How the uniqueness of the HE sector relies more on a sector-wide agreement than on a legal framework is analysed. The role of marketing units in developing a mature market which is strong enough to demand quality HE products is emphasised. Several aspects that need to be coordinated among quality assurance departments, academic staff, and the marketing departments are discussed.

Middle class pay six times more for degrees

R. Prince and J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 4th 2010, p.1 + 4

This article explores the impact of the radical reform of university funding proposed by the coalition government, which will allow institutions to charge tuition fees of up to 9000.00 per year. Interest rates on loans which students take out to pay the fees will be variable, so that successful graduates on high salaries will be charged more. For example, a graduate with debts of 30,000 and an annual salary of 45,000 would repay about 2,160 per year over 30 years. A graduate earning 25,000 would have to repay only 360.00 per year because a lower interest rate would be applied. Higher repayments by middle earners will be used to fund scholarships and bursaries for applicants from deprived backgrounds. At the same time, wealthy parents will be able to protect their children from debts by paying fees and living expenses upfront.

Migration cap costs Britain the services of 233 top brains

M. Henderson, A. Millar and R. Hill

The Times, Nov. 10th 2010, p. 18

The quota of visas issued to 15 of the country's leading research universities has been cut by 233 (21%) under the interim migrant limit imposed in July 2010. This is preventing the recruitment of professors and postdoctoral researchers from outside the European Economic Area. Changes to a different class of visa particularly issued to scientists have made it hard for young academics to qualify because their salaries are too low. The cuts have already had an impact on science and affects the UK's ability to compete in the global market to secure the 'world's brightest minds'.

Occupations expected to increase

M. Wainwright

The Guardian, Nov. 29th 2010, p. 19

Student occupations of 15 universities including Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and UCL, have continued during the week end and are set to grow before the next day of action on Tuesday 30 November.

One in ten universities 'will lose all funding'

R. Prince

Daily Telegraph, Nov. 5th 2010, p. 16

It was announced in the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review that the teaching budget for England's 208 universities would be reduced from 7.1bn to 4.2bn by 2014. Analysis of the plans commissioned by the Labour Party shows that the biggest loser in cash terms would be the Open University, which would see its state funding fall from 150m to 109m. Institutions that offer only arts courses, such as the London School of Economics and the Royal Academy of Music, would see their public funding reduced to zero. However, a spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills claimed that the figures, produced by the House of Commons Library, were inaccurate.

Prove the benefits of research or lose funds, universities told

G. Hurst and M. Henderson

The Times, Nov 12th 2010, p. 30

New funding rules mean that in order to qualify for full public funds university researchers will have to prove that their work has had some benefit beyond academic circles and has influenced thinking or policy within 15 years. Failure to do so will result in loss of a large proportion of income. Impact will be defined as evidence of social, economic, cultural, environmental, health and quality-of-life benefits that have resulted from research.

Rise in fees 'will deter most poorer students'

R. Williams and J. Vasagar

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

The government's proposal to raise tuition fees to 6,000 a year will lead to a dramatic fall in the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university, a poll by Ipsos Mori has found. Raising the cost to 5,000 would deter almost half of those from the most deprived backgrounds.

Scientists visa rethink


The Times, Nov. 8th 2010, p. 4

Last month eight Nobel laureates protested about the immigration visa cap fearing harm to British science. Scientists could be exempted in a similar way to foreign footballers. Ministers could ask learned societies to sponsor applications from senior professors.

Students were egged on by hardcore anarchists

A. Mostous, L. Pitel and J. Maxwell

The Times, Nov 12th 2010, p. 14-15

'Troublemakers had been plotting online to disrupt the fees demonstration for several weeks' A mix of students and hardcore anarchists made up the group of more than 50,000 rioters who stormed the Conservative headquarters during a demonstration against proposals to raise tuition fees. Many claimed that the clashes with police were spontaneous and not anything to do with extreme politics. Police should have known in advance that anarchists from home and abroad would be involved as plans to disrupt the protest were on the Radical Workers' and Students' Bloc website as well as on Call for Direct Actions Facebook pages.

Tuition fees rise to hit those on gap year

M. Savage

The Independent, Nov. 24th 2010, p. 8

The new, higher, tuition fees proposed from the 2012-13 academic year will apply to all students starting university in that year, including those applying to go to university in 2011-12 who have deferred entry until 2012-13, the university minister David Willetts has said. The announcement has prompted many students who had planned to take a gap year to cancel their year abroad to avoid paying the higher fees

Universities to charge fees of 7,000 to 8,000 a year

R. Garner

The Independent, Nov. 3rd 2010, p. 18

Most universities are expected to charge between 7,000 and 8,000 a year in tuition fees. Ministers are expected to announce a two-tier system, with institutions charging between 6,000 and 9,000 a year. A study by Universities UK has warned that fees of 6,500 a year will not be enough to make up for the government's cuts in teaching budgets. A separate study by the University of Leicester has revealed that even if fees were to rise to 10,000, this will not seriously affect the number of university applications. However, a survey by the Students' Union has warned that 7 in 10 students would think again about going to university if they had to pay fees of 7,000 and 79% of students would be deterred if fees were to be set at 10,000 a year.

(See also The Guardian, Nov. 3rd 2010, p. 4 and The Times, Nov.1st 2010, p.19)

Universities told: cut costs, increase access and prepare for competition

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Nov. 26th 2010, p. 21

The university minister David Willetts, keen to encourage the expansion of private universities, has urged vice-chancellors to cut costs and be prepared to face competition from new providers. He also warned that universities that want to charge tuition fees of more than 6,000 a year will have to meet new targets in attracting students from poorer backgrounds.

Universities turn away record number of applicants

R. Garner

The Independent, Nov. 17th 2010, p. 19

The number of young people failing to get a university place reached a record high in summer 2010, figures released by the University and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS) reveal. A total of 209,253 missed out on a place at university, a 58,938 increase on the previous year, with 838 fewer students with a British background admitted (0.2%). By contrast the number of non-European students paying full cost fees rose by 3.1% and that of European students by 7%.

(See also: the Guardian, Nov. 17th 2010, p. 11)

Well-off students will need better results to enter top universities

G. Hurst

The Times, Nov. 3rd 2010, p.23

Universities charging the highest fees (capped at 9,000) will have to recruit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This reform is likely to mean that students from wealthy families will need better results than those from poor homes or schools. The National Union of Students agreed that there is an argument for universities offering to accept lower grades from applicants from poorer backgrounds.

What do graduates do?

Higher Education Careers Services Unit and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services/p>


The latest edition of What Do Graduates Do? presents a snap-shot of 2009 graduate destinations, six months after graduation. Based on data sourced from the 08/09 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey, the study reveals that:

  • Employment continued to fall and was recorded at 59.2%. This represents 57.6% of graduates securing employment in the UK and 1.6% overseas.
  • The number of graduates that were unemployed six months after graduating increased by 1% in 2009, reaching 8.9%.
  • Graduates from engineering and building management subjects continued to experience a challenging time, and unemployment increased across all four key subject areas.
  • The number of graduates choosing to work in health and social welfare continued to rise in 2009. But despite a year on year increase in the number of graduates working in education related occupations, the number fell slightly (0.1%) to 7% in 2009.
  • There was little movement in the number of graduates opting to work and study (8.1%). However this proved a popular choice for those working in accountancy (20.4%)
  • Choosing to study for a higher degree was the primary choice for 8.1% of graduates in 2009, proving particularly popular for science graduates.


Work integrated learning

D. Jorgensen, I. MacDonald, D. Peach and others (guest editors)

Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 29, 2010, p. 491-602

This special issue is dedicated to work integrated learning. Contributors deal with the following thems: changes in the university's conception of curriculum; policy and practice in work-integrated learning; contextualisation and integration into the curriculum of the learning of work-ready professional graduate attributes; internationalising work-integrated learning; partnerships and learning communities in work-integrated learning and teaching; balancing student learning and commercial outcomes in the workplace; the impact of a Professional Development Programme for first year students compared to those undertaking a conventional orientation programme; and the use of blogs as reflective learning tools for placement students.

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