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Welfare Reform on the Web (July 2004): Education - UK - Higher

E IS FOR ERROR

D. MacLeod

Education Guardian, June 8th 2004, p.18-19

Bosses of the doomed e-university were warned two years ago that the project was in trouble. Born at the height of the dotcom boom, Britain's e-university is currently being buried by the education establishment. The Higher Education Funding Council for England is currently trying to salvage what it can of the £62m project as more damning evidence comes to light about the policies and management of UKeU, the company running the scheme.

HIGHER EDUCATION ACT

London: TSO, 2004

The Act gives universities the power to charge students variable fees. These are intended to provide them with additional investment and enable them to compete with the best in the world. From 2006, upfront fees for students will be abolished. Graduates will start repaying their fees once they are earning at least £15,000. Universities wishing to charge more than the current fixed-rate fee will have to enter into an agreement with a new Office of Fair Access (OFFA), setting out their proposals for widening access. They will be expected to encourage applications from under-represented groups and provide the poorest students with at least £300 in financial support if they are charging the maximum £3,000 fee for a curse.

REAPPRAISING LEARNING SUPPORT IN HIGHER EDUCATION

E. Avramidis and D. Skidmore

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol. 9, 2004, p.63-82

Although there have been a number of studies focusing on support services and elimination of barriers for disabled students in higher education, there have been few all-inclusive studies. The study from which the article is drawn examined the issue of "learning support" for the whole student population in a leading university in the south-west of England. The research sought to answer the following questions:

  • what are the students' perceptions of the institutional, tutorial and departmental support they receive and how can these be improved?
  • are the support needs of disabled students distinct from those of "mainstream" ones?
  • what are the students' perceptions of the central learning support service and what changes would they like to see in the way this support is provided?

Students' opinions on the university, academic and social support they received were sought through questionnaires. Results showed it is not only disabled students, but a much wider range, who experience difficulties in learning and that therefore "generic" support from the learning support service would be beneficial to many. The study concludes that "disability issues" and "learning support" matters should be located in the mainstream learning and teaching debate.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

P. Curtis

Guardian Education, June 22nd 2004, p.18-19

In selling off their halls of residence to private firms, are universities evading their pastoral responsibilities to students ?

STATE SCHOOL PUPILS LESS LIKELY TO GET INTO TOP UNIVERSITIES DESPITE GRADES

M. Conrad

Public Finance, May 28th-June 3rd 2004, p.16

An interim report, published by the Sutton Trust, has found that pupils from independent schools dominate the top 13 universities and that state school pupils are less likely to attend top institutions even when they have the same A-level grades as their independently-educated peers. The trust believes that the system of predicted grades is partly to blame, as the state sector tends to underestimate results.

U-TURN TO CUT TUITION FEES FOR THOUSANDS

T. Halpin and D. Charter

The Times, June 24th 2004, p.1

Tens of thousands of old students have been given a reprieve on university tuition fees by the Government. Ministers made a U-turn after universities had privately sounded warnings of chaos in the admissions system next year as students attempted to pre-empt the increase in fees to £3,000 a year in 2006.

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