Informed decisions: tackling information inequalities in higher education

Document type
Wyness, Gill
Date of publication
1 April 2012
Education and Skills
Social welfare
Material type

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The coalition government wants a university sector based on choice and competition. A key part of its strategy is to give students access to information about the costs and benefits of going to university, so that they can decide whether or not to invest in higher education, as well as more detailed information about courses and institutions, so they can decide on which course they want to spend their tuition fees.

In this report CentreForum sets out five radical ways of getting information on universities into the hands of young people and parents. The five point plan is intended to boost the government's drive to unlock information about different courses and institutions. From September 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council for England will require all universities and colleges to place standard sets of data, Key Information Sets (KIS), on their websites to help applicants “find quickly and compare easily, the headline items which students consider most important”. CentreForum welcomes this direction of travel but is concerned that the people most likely to look at the KIS will already be the best informed.

The report urges the government to do more to ensure that information reaches those from non traditional backgrounds, who are generally less aware of the costs, experience and long term benefits of going to university..

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