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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2001): Education - UK - Higher

HARD LESSON OF DEBT KEEPING POORER STUDENTS OUT OF COLLEGE

W. Woodward

Guardian, Sept. 10th 2001, p.4

Estimates that students from poorer families are leaving university £13,000-£15,000 in debt following the imposition of tuition fees and the abolition maintenance grants. Evidence is emerging that this is deterring young people from low-income families from entering higher education. If the government is to achieve its target of 50% of young people experiencing higher education, it may need to reintroduce some kind of state scholarship.

(See also Guardian, Sept. 10th 2001, p.1 + 4).

HIGHER EDUCATION FACES A LEARNING CURVE

D. Harding

Public Finance, Aug. 24th-Sept. 6th 2001, p.12

Discusses the problems facing UK universities. A large number of the available places are not being filled, as young people from less wealthy backgrounds are deterred from applying by their fear of debt. Universities which fill their places are accused of "dumbing down", and there are increasing problems of academic staff morale and retention.

THE QUALITY ASSURANCE AGENCY AND THE POLITICS OF AUDIT

A. Bradney

Journal of Law and Society, vol.28, 2001, p.430-442

Audit is an increasingly ubiquitous feature of academic life, with the Quality Assurance Agency at the forefront of its implementation. Article argues that, far from making an objective assessment of the quality of learning and teaching in universities, the Quality Assurance Agency's audits further political attempts to change the educational agenda of universities and alter the nature of academic life.

A REVOLUTION BY DEGREES

S. Court

Public Finance, Aug. 10th-23rd 2001, p.24-25

The government aims to give the majority of young people access to higher education. In order to achieve this the universities will need extra funding to improve staff pay, upgrade buildings and equipment, and provide support for students from low-income families. Article discusses possible sources of funding.

STUDENT DROPOUT RATE MAY REACH RECORD

J. O'Leary

Times, Aug. 29th 2001, p.8

Universities are risking record dropout rates because they are taking so many poorly qualified students to fill the increased number of places available.

UNIVERSITY STANDARDS CHIEF QUITS OVER CUTS

J. Clare

Daily Telegraph, Aug. 22nd 2001, p.1 + 18

John Randall, Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency, has resigned in protest against the government's decision to reduce inspections of university departments by 40% or more. The move follows intensive lobbying by university vice-chancellors who disliked being subjected to public scrutiny and complained of the time it took to compile the data required by the reviewers.

See also Financial Times, Aug. 22nd 2001, p.4; Guardian, Aug. 22nd 2001, p.5; Times, Aug. 22nd 2001, p.1 + 2; Guardian, Aug. 23rd 2001, p.15.

VICE-CHANCELLORS CALL FOR RETURN OF GRANTS

J. O'Leary

Times, Sept. 14th 2001, p.10

University vice-chancellors have called for an urgent rethink of student support and for the reintroduction of maintenance grants to encourage people from low-income families to enter higher education. The Higher Education Minister has admitted that the present system of 21 different bursaries, loans and hardship funds is a nightmare and has promised to simplify it.

(See also Independent, Sept. 14th 2001, p.21; Guardian, Sept. 14th 2001, p.16).

WHY BLAIR SHOULD KEEP UNIVERSITY TUITION FEES

M. Wolf

Financial Times, Sept. 3rd 2001, p.17

Proposes that: 1) government should institute a student loans scheme that charges market interest rates and demands income contingent repayments; 2) bursaries should be offered to students from disadvantaged backgrounds; 3) elite universities should be allowed to charge top-up fees; and 4) spending on universities should be increased by half, or about £6bn.

WORSE-OFF STUDENTS MAY BE GIVEN £5,000 "GRANTS"

L. Hodges and R. Garner

Independent, Sept. 13th 2001, p.17

An inquiry set up by the Labour government into student finance is expected to recommend the establishment of a system of state bursaries for students from low-income families. These would be funded by charging market interest rates on loans to the better-off. The bursaries would cover living costs and fees.

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