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

220,000 may miss a college place

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, July 8th 2011, p. 8

Official figures suggest that almost a third of applicants, about 220,000, would be left without a place on a degree course in September 2011, amid a surge in applications in advance of the rise in tuition fees to up to 9,000 a year in 2012. Demand was up by 1.4% from 2010 at the end of June 2011 when the deadline for applications expired.

English students facing 9,000 fees at Scottish universities

S. Carrell

The Guardian, June 30th, p. 9

English university students could be charged up to 9,000 in tuition fees in Scotland to prevent Scottish universities being 'swamped' by students fleeing higher charges elsewhere in the UK. The changes are expected to be announced by Michael Russell, the Scottish education secretary.

Oxford targets students from state schools

R. Garner

The Independent, July 13th 2011, p. 16

Richard Garner reports that Oxford University is aiming to increase the number of students who apply to it and are accepted who come from state schools with a record of failing to have their students accepted by the elite institution or not applying at all. The target it has set itself is to recruit one in four of its successful UK applicants from such schools; Oxford also plans to double the number of summer school places - which provide a 'taster' of life at the institution - to 1,000 by 2014.

Regulator accused of failing as no universities are told to lower fees

R. Garner

The Independent, July 12th 2011, p. 15

As most universities in England are going to be allowed to charge the maximum fee of 9,000 per year, the universities regulator (Offa) has been accused of failing. However, Offa has said that it does not have powers to tell universities how much to charge; it can only check that universities have programmes in place to broaden access by, for example, promoting university education among disadvantaged pupils. According to Offa, from September the average fee will be 8,393.

Scholarships for poor

The Independent, July 22nd 2011, p. 18

Lib Dem Simon Hughes, in his report to Government on widening access, recommended awarding university scholarships worth about 3,000 to poor 15-year-olds in England. According to Hughes, this would encourage poor students to achieve A-levels necessary to enter university.

Two thirds of universities to levy top rate

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, July 12th 2011, p. 2

Figures from the Office for Fair Access show that 65% of English universities will charge the maximum fees of 9,000 a year for some first degree courses while 39% will levy the maximum amount for all courses. The average student faces paying 8,393 a year from 2012, although this figure drops to 8,161 when discounts for the poorest undergraduates are included. With discounts being offered to the poorest students, youngsters from middle-class backgrounds will be hit by the highest fees.

(See also Times, July 12th 2011, p.11)

Universities for the deprived

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, July 13th 2011, p. 1 +2

Elite institutions such as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the London School of Economics are preparing to admit up to 50% more students from under-performing comprehensives, working class families, local authority care and deprived neighbourhoods. The change is a trade off for being allowed to charge up to 9,000 per year in undergraduate tuition fees and could lead to middle-class teenagers losing out on places at elite universities.

Universities mull radical proposals to go private

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, July 1st 2011, p. 5

Two English universities are seriously considering opting out of the publicly regulated higher education system in a radical move that would mean cutting themselves off from state funding, including student loans. By going private a university would be able to remove itself from government demands to widen access to pupils from state schools.

Universities given go-ahead to charge 9,000 tuition fees

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, July 12th 2011, p. 10

More than a third of English universities will charge 9,000 as their standard fee in 2012 after their proposals for widening access to poorer students were approved by a government watchdog. A total of 47 out of 123 universities will charge the maximum fee across all courses. Final details of how much universities will charge undergraduates next year were released on Tuesday by the Office for Fair Access (Offa), which has vetted proposals to widen participation in higher education. The watchdog said that 'fewer than half' of students will be charged a net fee of 9,000 once fee waivers - discounts for poorer students - and other financial support is taken into account. According to the figures, the estimated average fee is 8,393, far higher than the government predicted, but this drops to 8,161 when fee waivers for less well-off students are included. Every institution seeking to charge above 6,000 a year was forced to adopt an 'access agreement' approved by the watchdog.

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