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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2011): Education - UK - higher

8th university announces plans for 9,000 fee

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Mar. 24th 2011, p. 16

Manchester University has become the 8th university to state its intention to charge 9,000 tuition fees - the maximum allowed - from the autumn of 2012.

84,000 to pay for a degree

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 18th 2011, p. 10

Research by the BBC claims that undergraduates borrowing 39,000 to cover the costs of a three year first degree course could end up repaying 84,000 during their working lives as interest accumulates on the debt. The research is likely to add to pressure on the government to allow early repayment of student debts. Ministers are considering penalising those paying their debts off early.

Adverts aim to explain rise in tuition fees

K. Rawlinson

The Independent, March 18th 2011, p. 19

The Government is planning an advertising campaign to explain the rise in tuition fees. The campaign will consist of radio, online, and press ads and is due to begin later in 2011. Anti-fee campaigners say the move is a waste of money. A BBC investigation has revealed that a degree, from next year, could cost students as much as 83,000.

Drug firm will pay tuition fees of its trainees

R. Winnett

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 2nd 2011, p. 1

The pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline has announced that it will pay the university tuition fees of its graduate trainees. The company is the first major employer to announce that it will pay the tuition fees of its recruits, but ministers hope that others, including banks, will follow suit and that paying tuition fees will become the norm for large firms.

Education chief 'powerless' to limit fees

G. Hurst

The Times, Mar. 8th 2011, p. 10

'Any university meeting criteria can charge 9,000'. The director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa) said that any university with credible proposals to improve student support, reduce dropout rates and admit more students from poor backgrounds could charge the full undergraduate tuition fee of 9,000 from autumn 2012.

Exeter is first university outside top 20 to charge 9,000 fee

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, March 2nd 2011, p. 5

Exeter has become the first university outside the top 20 in the Russell Group to announce that they will charge the maximum 9,000 annual undergraduate tuition fees from 2012, saying that they will need the extra income to meet higher expectations from students.

Government setback on tuition fees

R. Garner

The Independent, March 8th 2011, p. 14

The article reports that Sir Martin Harris, director general of the Office for Fair Access (Offa) has stated that he is not responsible for ensuring, that the maximum tuition fee of 9,000 per year is charged only 'in exceptional circumstances.' According to the article's author, this means that effectively any university which is able to make a convincing case about its efforts to attract disadvantaged students will be allowed to charge the maximum. Guidance issued by Offa urges British leading universities to consider waiving fees, thus helping the Treasury save money, as it has budgeted for an average of 7,500 being levied. Sir Martin has urged elite universities to improve programmes aimed at widening access.

How to produce an access agreement for 2012-13

Office for Fair Access

2011

This guidance, published to coincide with a rise in tuition fees in 2012, instructs universities to invest up to a third of tuition fee income above the basic 6,000 per year in bursaries and programmes to attract applicants from poor backgrounds and low-performing schools. In exchange for charging the maximum 9,000 per year in tuition fees, institutions will be required to set targets to raise participation by working class students. Any university failing to hit the targets could be stripped of the power to charge fees above the basic level of 6,000 per year. The most serious breaches of agreements between the Office and universities could see institutions fined up to 500,000.

(For comment see Daily Telegraph, Mar. 15th 2011, p. 15)

URL: http://www.offa.org.uk/publications/#research

Hundreds of Oxbridge dons demand enquiry into tuition fees

R. Garner

The Independent, March 2nd 2011, p. 2

More than 600 Oxbridge academics have written an open letter to Business Secretary Vince Cable demanding a halt to implementation of government proposals for tuition fees to rise to up to 9,000 a year. The signatories argue that the reforms are being implemented too quickly and universities are still not aware of the finer details of the plans. Both Oxford and Cambridge have indicated that they would like to raise the fees to the maximum allowed.

Just one university will escape funding cuts

R. Garner

The Independent, Mar. 17th 2011, p. 26

Richard Garner reports that all bar one of England's 130 universities had their funding cut for the 2011/12. Only one university, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, saw its budget increased in real terms. The hardest hit institutions are the newer universities. The most prestigious ones, such as Oxford and Cambridge, were not heavily affected. Durham University became the latest to announce it will charge the maximum 9,000 tuition fee from September 2012.

Lecturers stage mass walk out

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, March 25th 2011, p. 12

Tens of thousands of university lecturers have staged a mass walk out over pay and pensions. The strike, by staff at up to 500 universities and colleges, follows a wave of action. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) said changes to pay and pensions had created 'real anger' among lecturers and the strike was a last resort.

Poorer universities risk cut in students for charging top fees

J. Sugden

The Times, Feb. 28th 2011, p. 18

Lower ranking universities that wish to charge above average fees from 2012 face having their student numbers cut under government plans to force vice-chancellors to keep tuition costs down.

Regulating financial sustainability in higher education

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2011 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/11; HC 816)

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, the funder and regulator of the higher education sector, has overseen the financial sustainability of the sector through a period of growth in income and student numbers. The Funding Council has taken a cost-efficient approach and has delivered value for money in the context in which it has operated to date. However, the sector is facing a period of transition to a very different financial environment. The Funding Council has contained the cost of its own regulatory activities and has sought to minimise the burden of its activities on higher education institutions. It has focused on supporting those institutions at highest risk, whilst managing to maintain the confidence of the sector. The new funding framework for the sector is, however, likely to increase the level of risk. There is already wide variation in the financial performance of institutions. The Funding Council's current assessment of financial sustainability of institutions provides effective coverage of medium-term risks. To detect short term risks the Funding Council draws upon its contacts with the sector but it also relies on universities themselves reporting potential problems - something which the Funding Council needs to reinforce. The Funding Council does not routinely publish its assessments of individual institutions as part of its annual assessment of risk within the sector, and delays its naming of "at higher risk" institutions by at least three years to give them time to rectify their problems. As a greater proportion of funding begins to follow the student, the Funding Council needs to consider the balance between protecting institutions and their students and enabling prospective students to take more informed decisions on where to study. Some institutions in difficulty can take a long time to resolve their weaknesses, even with close support from the Funding Council.

URL: http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/1011/financial_sustainability_in_he.aspx

Rush to charge 9,000 fees opens up 1bn gap in university funding

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, March 28th 2011, p. 10

The government could be forced to spend almost 1bn more than expected over the next four years to cover the cost of tuition fees, as a growing number of universities set up plans to charge the maximum of 9,000 a year. The initial charge is borne by the government, which pays the fee for each student in the form of a loan, before recovering the money once a graduate earns 21,000 a year or more.

Student visas

Home Affairs Committee

London: TSO, 2011(House of Commons papers, session 2010-2011; HC 773

This report cautions the Government against introducing measures which could damage the UK's thriving educational export sector. After a wide-ranging inquiry into the Government's proposals to reform the student immigration system, concerns remain that a number of the proposals could have serious unintended consequences. International students make up 10% of first degree students and over 40% of postgraduate students at UK universities. The international student market, estimated to be worth 40 billion to the UK economy is a significant growth market and the UK is the second most popular destination in the world for international students. The past experiences of the USA and Australia in reforming their visa systems highlight the sensitivity of the international market in education, contributing at least in part to a fall of 18.9% in Australian student visa applications between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

URL: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/home-affairs/Studentvisas.pdf

Top universities must double access spending

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, March 8th 2011

England's most prestigious universities will have to double the amount they spend on widening access to poorer students if they charge the maximum tuition fees, government guidance has warned.

(See also The Guardian, Mar. 16th 2011, p. 12)

Tuition fees will bankrupt universities, says watchdog

R, Garner

The Independent, Mar.4th 2011, p 17

The article reports that the National Audit Office (NAO) warns that a number of universities will run the risk of bankruptcy as a result of the Government's higher education reforms. The NAO believes that allowing universities to charge 9,000 for courses might deter applications; for less financially solid institutions the resulting loss in revenue, coupled with decreased Government funding, might spell financial trouble.

Universities 'relying on foreign students'

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 8th 2011, p. 2

Data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England show that income from students outside Britain and the EU has more than doubled over the past decade and now accounts for almost 10% of total university funding. Some leading universities rely on international students for almost half their income as they can be charged unlimited tuition fees. These figures will add to fears that university finances will be devastated by government plans to limit visas for foreign students.

Visa curbs will cut overseas students by 80,000, says May

A. Travis

The Guardian, Mar. 23rd 2011, p. 8

The home secretary, Theresa May, has unveiled the government's compromise package on the student visa system and claimed it will curb numbers by more than 25%, with up to 80,000 fewer coming to Britain each year.

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