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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2003): Education - UK - Higher

5,500 REJECT UNIVERSITY 'FOR FEAR OF STUDENT DEBT'

S. Cassidy and R.Garner

The Independent, August 11th 2003, p.6

A study of this years university application statistics by the Liberal Party suggests top-up fees are putting students off applying for university in England, while Scottish applications (where there are no top-up fees) are growing in numbers.

ADAM'S AMBITIONS

W. Berliner

Guardian Education, August 5th 2003, p.1-2

Many working class children still do not want to go to university. Why? Fear of debt plays a part, but author believes it's more fundamental than that. The article includes an example of a boy who doesn't see any educational, social, spiritual or financial value in a university education.

BOOST FOR A-LEVEL SYSTEM CHANGE

R. Smithers

The Guardian, August 11th 2003, p.2

Plans for a shake up of university admissions, which would involve all students applying for courses after their A-level results, have won the support of a senior government advisor. Stephen Schwartz, who is advising the government on ways of widening access, believes the new system would encourage youngsters from a broader range of social backgrounds to apply. It would give more flexibility by allowing applications based on actual, rather than predicted, results.

BY DEGREES: THE FIRST YEAR: FROM CARE TO UNIVERSITY

S. Jackson, S. Ajayi and M. Quigley

London: National Children's Bureau, 2003

Reports early findings from a study of the experience of care leavers entering higher education and the role of local authorities in providing financial and emotional support. The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 laid a duty on local authorities to support young people who had been in care through higher education. The research showed wide geographical variation in provision of personal and financial support packages.

FINANCING HIGHER EDUCATION: LESSONS FROM THE UK DEBATE

N. Barr

Political Quarterly, vol.74, 2003, p.371-381

Article presents an assessment of the 2003 White Paper on higher education in England and Wales. The White Paper aims to shift resources from the better-off to the poor. Those who can afford to pay more for their university education should do so, releasing resources for targeted transfers. It also advocates introduction of variable tuition fees. This will create competition between universities shifting the balance of power from central planners and providers to consumers.

(For further comment on the White Paper see Political Quarterly, vol.74, 2003, p.382-394)

THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Education and Skills Committee

London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons papers, session 2002/03; HC425)

Report examines the government's recent White Paper on higher education. Reminds the government that UK universities are popular with overseas students due to their unique blend of teaching and research. Argues that therefore the flame of research should be kept alight in all universities, and not confined to elite institutions. Employers should either invest in research voluntarily or be required to contribute to a research fund for the universities. Universities should have access to a wide range of funding streams and not be overly reliant on taxation, which would lead to less independence for the sector. Proposes abolishing the undifferentiated interest rate subsidy for student loans in order to fund maintenance grants for applicants from low-income families. Pay and conditions of university lecturers need urgent improvement to attract high quality staff.

LOW-COST FOUNDATION DEGRESS AIM TO BOOST NUMBERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

J. Kelly

Financial Times, August 14th 2003, p.3

School-leavers will be offered up to 50,000 university places on new employer led courses from 2005 in an attempt to boost numbers going into higher education. The new two-year "foundation degrees" will be marketed as a low-cost route to university and better career prospects as students face the introduction of fees up to £3,000 a year. The degrees have been designed by business to fill skills gaps in specific sectors.

MINISTERS SET FOR NEW PUSH OVER TUITION FEES

C. Newman

Financial Times, August 26th 2003, p.1

Ministers will next month mount a renewed offensive to promote student "top-up fees" after privately admitting they have failed to convince MPs and the public about the merits of allowing universities to charge up to £3,000 a year. Ministers are set to rebrand the charge as an 'individualised graduate tax'.

(See also The Times, August 26th 2003, p.1)

OXBRIDGE SETS NEW EXAM TO SELECT THE BEST

G. Owen

The Times, August 18th 2003, p. 1

Oxford and Cambridge are turning their back on A levels and reintroducing their own entrance papers after being overwhelmed by candidates with top grades. The move follows last week's rise in the A-level pass rate, which has produced a record number of students with straight A grades.

RECORD RISE IN VACANT UNIVERSITY PLACES

R. Smithers and D. Macloud

The Guardian, August 8th 2003, p.11

A record increase in vacant university places will be revealed next week. Universities have revealed they will have thousands of unfilled places on their courses, raising fresh doubts about the government's ability to meet its demanding target for increased participation in higher education.

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