Weekly HE Policy Update


Overseas students

Universities minister, Greg Clark, will travel to India next week to sell Britain as the best destination for international students. This follows criticism that Indian students have been put off applying for places. The trip is designed to persuade India’s government and potential students that Britain is anxious to recruit as many overseas students as possible. It follows a fall of around 15 per cent in the number of people from India studying in the UK, which critics believe is due to perceptions of an unwelcoming attitude towards overseas students in the UK as a result of the Government’s clampdown on immigration. Minister Greg Clark to address foreign students’ concerns over ‘unwelcoming’ UK, (The Independent)

More science graduates needed

In a letter to the Telegraph, major employers such as; BAE System, Shell, Nestlé, and Ford said a “fundamental misperception persists” that practical subjects are too difficult and “not relevant” for the majority of school leavers. The letter also argued that whilst significant progress has been made to promote practical subjects in schools and colleges, the UK was still not producing enough graduates and skilled apprentices with a scientific, technology, engineering and mathematical background. Teenagers turned off ‘difficult’ subjects such as science (The Telegraph)


PG Loans 

The chair of a consortium of six Russell Group universities, which was given £3m as part of a HEFCE project to widen access to postgraduate education, has said a state loan system won’t help those from less well-off backgrounds. The consortium says scholarships which are joint-funded by; government, institutions and employers would be a better option. Chancellor George Osborne has said there will be an announcement on postgraduate funding in next month’s autumn statement.  Six Russell Group universities reject government loans for postgrad study (The Guardian Higher Education Network)


Unpaid internships

Research by the Sutton Trust revealed that a third of university graduates who are employed as interns receive no payment, while paying out up to £926 a month in living costs. They argue that interns who work for more than a month should be paid at least the minimum wage of £6.50 per hour. It is estimated that 21,000 interns are working for nothing in the UK at any one time. Unpaid work costs interns £926 a month – study  (The Guardian), Unpaid internships ‘closed to all but the super-rich’ (The Daily Telegraph), Unpaid internships ‘favour the rich’ (BBC News)


Student cap

English universities are targeting the European Union for extra student recruitment when the cap on undergraduates is lifted next year, prompting critics to warn about the additional pressure this will have on the student loans system. Recruitment drive for EU students may crash loans system (THE)

USS Pensions

The first sign of a potential thaw in the dispute over pre-1992 university pensions has emerged after the University and College Union put forward proposals accepting the end of the final salary scheme. UCU accepts end to final salary scheme but row over alternative rumbles on (THE)


EU chief scientist

Leading academics and researchers have condemned the decision to ‘oust’ the chief scientific adviser to the European Commission, Professor Anne Glover, after a lobbying campaign led by Greenpeace. She revealed in an email yesterday to the heads of national science academies that her post had “ceased to exist” and that she would leave the commission in January. Greenpeace and eight other campaign groups wrote to Jean-Claude Juncker, the new commission president, in July urging him to abolish the post because it “concentrates too much influence in one person”. Chief scientist is forced out after green campaign (The Times)