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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2002): Education - UK - Higher

GRADUATE TAX SHOULD BE GREETED WITH CONTEMPT

M. Wolf

Financial Times, Oct. 24th 2001, p. 23

Government is considering introduction of a graduate tax that would be used either to pay a maintenance grant of about £3,800 a year to all students irrespective of means or to fund a means-tested grant of up to £2,700. Abolition of tuition fees and subsidised loans are also under discussion. Attacks the plans an the grounds that using the graduate tax to fund student maintenance would not direct any extra money to universities and would increase their dependence on government whims.

(See also Guardian, Oct. 25th 2001, p. 1)

INCREASING INEQUALITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION: THE ROLE OF TERM-TIME WORKING

H. Metcalf

London: National Institute for Economic and Social Research, 2001 (Discussion paper; 186)

Study of undergraduates in their final year found that almost half worked an average of 12 hours a week during term. As many as 16% sometimes worked for 20 hours or more. Two thirds said it affected their studies, making it harder for them to attend lectures and finish assignments on time. Government bursaries and university hardship grants appeared insufficient as those in receipt of them were most likely to be working.

MIXED FORTUNES: GRADUATE UTILISATION IN SERVICE INDUSTRIES

G. Mason

London: National Institute for Economic and Social Research, 2001 (Discussion paper; 182)

Reports research based on visits to 27 businesses and 61 interviews with staff supply agencies in the retailing, computer services, transport and communication industries. Results showed that the majority of graduates had fared well in the labour market but were sometimes doing jobs previously carried out by people without degrees. One in three graduates faced a struggle to find the sort of work that would justify the effort and debt their studies had incurred.

UNIVERSITIES "NOT THE BIRTHRIGHT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS"

J. O'Leary

Times, Oct. 23rd 2001, p. 14

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills has called for universities to take positive steps to encourage working class youngsters to apply, and for the improvement of teaching in higher education.

(See also Independent, Oct. 23rd 2001, p. 9; Guardian, Oct. 23rd 2001, p. 14; Financial Times, Oct. 23rd 2001, p. 10)

UNLEARNED LESSONS OF BRITAIN'S UNIVERSITY CRISIS

M. Wolf

Financial Times, Nov. 12th 2001, p. 23

Proposes radical reforms of higher education in order to arrest its decline. Universities should be allowed to charge what fees they wish up to an agreed upper limit. The present income contingent loan scheme should be extended to cover all fees and maintenance with repayment via the tax system based on current income. Finally, the government should make a contribution to fees via student vouchers, payable at the institutions of their choice.

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