HE Policy Update



As part of their ‘Does Cost Matter’ report, the National Education Opportunities Network discovered that 40% of university applicants might choose a different course if tuition fees were reduced to £6,000. Lower fees would mean different course choices, say students (THE).

University Spending

Analysis by the Complete University Guide reveals that class sizes are falling and universities are spending more on facilities. UK university class sizes falling, study finds (Guardian).


HE Pay Offer

Universities have made a 0.9 per cent pay offer for university employees. The University and Colleges Employers’ Association said the offer for 2015-16 was above inflation, and was being made “against a backdrop of unprecedented uncertainties and challenging circumstances” for higher education institutions. Universities make 0.9% pay offer to staff (THE).


Widening Access

An interesting analysis behind Ed Miliband’s comment that disadvantaged young people are 12 times less likely to go to university, questions the statement’s validity. The analysis shows stark differences in the probability of going to university between young people from the most and least advantaged backgrounds. Depending on how one defines ‘advantaged’, the least privileged are said to be between three and six times less likely to go to university than the most privileged.  Fact Check: are disadvantaged young people 12 times less likely to go to university? (The Conversation).


PhD Loan Scheme

A study by academics at Newcastle University and York University suggest there is no evidence that the recently announced loan scheme for PhD students will widen participation in doctoral research.  The big payback: PHD loan scheme ‘may not be the right approach’ (THE).



Senior sector figures reveal that whoever wins or holds the balance of power after the general election, there will be risks ahead for higher education funding, fees and policy. Andy Westwood, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs at the University of Manchester and Professor of Politics and Policy at the University of Winchester, argued that the policies all “suggest a shift towards technical or work-based higher education and to applied research”. Post-election scenarios assessed (THE).

Leaders Question Time

Last night, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg faced a Question Time audience. Higher education was touched on when Nick Clegg faced questions on the Liberal Democrat’s U-turn on tuition fees. The following article gives a summary of the leader’s performance. Question Time election debate: How the party leaders fared in the spotlight (Independent).