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

Applications plummet as student fees rise

R. Garner and O. Wright

The Independent, Oct. 24th 2011 p. 11

Ucas figures showed a drop of around 10 per cent in university applications in 2011. The drop was thought to be caused by the hike in tuition-fees, which would affect all those beginning a university course in 2012. Oxford and Cambridge were largely unaffected and LSE has seen a rise in applications. Applications to medicine, dentistry, and veterinary courses were also unaffected.

Education cuts 'threaten Oxford's global prestige'

R. Garner

The Independent, Oct. 5th 2011 p. 16

The vice-chancellor of Oxford University warned that the institution's reputation was being damaged by funding cuts and visa restrictions on international students.

'Softer' subjects plunge 40% as students seek value for 9,000 fees

V. Ward

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 25th 2011, p. 6

University applications for 'soft' subjects fell by up to 40% in 2011, as students demanded better value for money. Overall applications for university courses starting in 2012 fell by 9%, but the subjects worst hit were those considered to offer the least reward and which tended to be offered by the least renowned institutions. Applications for 'mass communication and documentation' subjects such as media studies and public relations fell by 40.6% compared to 2010. Education courses also suffered, with applications dropping by 30%, while interest in creative arts fell by 27.1% and in business studies by 26.1%.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Oct. 24th 2011, p. 8)

Students look to US to escape fees rise

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Oct. 5th 2011, p. 8

In the autumn of 2011 there was strong evidence that more British students were preparing to study at American universities in order to avoid the rise in tuition fees at English universities to 9,000 a year in 2012. The scramble for places had reached such a level that applicants were struggling to find centres at which they could sit the traditional American higher education entrance examination. Foreign universities were also actively marketing themselves to British students through recruitment fairs.

Troubled by the past: history, identity and the university

M. Murphy

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 33, 2011, p. 509-517

Much emphasis is currently placed on the impact of marketisation on higher education and the damage it has caused to forms of academic and student identity. Evident is a concern that much of value in these identities has been lost amidst the pressure of audit, performance indicators and consumerism. This paper explores the changes to these identities to gauge how appropriate the 'loss' thesis is as a diagnosis of current challenges. In exploring these issues, the paper argues that, while the past is troubling, the reasons for this trouble have as much to do with concerns over democratic accountability as they do with external political interference. The paper concludes by using this ideological tension to characterise the university as 'mediating publicness', a characterisation that may provide an alternative to current concerns over loss, doubt and institutional inertia.

Universities looking at cutting fees to secure more students

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Oct. 21st 2011, p. 17

More than one-fifth of universities and colleges in England are considering reducing their tuition fees for autumn 2012 to an average of under 7,500. Twenty-eight institutions have expressed an interest in changing their fees, the Office for Fair Access (Offa) - the government watchdog on access - has said. Hundreds of thousands of students are currently in the process of applying to start university in 2012, and the news means some will be doing so without a clear idea of the fees proposed by their chosen institutions.

University entry system favours rich, says Ucas

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Oct. 31st 2011, p. 1

The process by which hundreds of thousands of teenagers apply to UK universities favours the rich, the organisation that co-ordinates degree applications has admitted. In a review of university admissions, Ucas acknowledges that the current system gives an unfair advantage to pupils at private schools. These pupils are encouraged by their teachers to apply to institutions well ahead of the official deadline and, for some courses, applying early gives students more of a chance of being offered a conditional place.

Universities given 14 days to justify fees

J. Brown, R. Garner, and C. Cooper

The Independent, Oct. 21st 2011 p. 8

Twenty-eight universities in England and Wales are considering dropping their fees to below 7,500 a year for the 2012 intake of new students. If successful, they would qualify for some of the 20,000 student places held back by the Government in June 2011. The National Union of Student has criticised the plans, which it says were hastily drawn up. The problem is that applicants at this stage remain uncertain of the fees some universities are going to charge. Top universities like Oxford and Cambridge and members of the Russell Group are not going to charge less than the maximum.

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