HE Policy Update


First speech for Universities’ Minister

Jo Johnson gave his first speech as Universities and Science Minister at Going Global. He gave a warm speech about how international students are welcome to study in the UK and focused on the economic and social value brought to the UK by international students. Jo Johnson: UK aims to grow international education (THE).

Job-ready students

A survey by Universum revealed that 58 per cent of employers rated work experience as the most popular qualification, with a student’s personality coming second, with 48 per cent favouring this. Only 15 per cent said that they were looking for a degree from a specific university. However 16 per cent said that grades from a prestigious university were important. Leading employers prefer value work experience among graduates over grades, says new research (The Independent).


Loan Consultation

The BIS consultation on postgraduate loans has seen responses that stress concerns that loans for PhDs could threaten existing studentships and dampen take-up of doctoral study. Cautious response to PhD loans proposal (THE).


Going Global

David Willetts, the former Universities and Science minister, said in his speech at Going Global that the government should lift restrictions to allow British students to use state loans for fees abroad. He said it was one of his regrets that he was not able to get the policy implemented during his time as minister. David Willetts: allow student loans to be used abroad (THE).


Budget Cuts

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the government department covering higher education, BIS, will have its budget for this year cut by a further £450 million. It is not yet known how the savings at BIS will be found, but a Treasury statement mentions savings in higher education and further education budgets. Universities in firing line as BIS faces almost half a billion in new cuts (THE).



The Office for Fair Access is to review how much poorer students benefit from financial support while at university. The project’s findings will be used by Offa to inform its guidance to universities as it prepares access agreements from 2017-18 onwards. Offa launches review of bursary impact (THE).