HE Policy Update


David Willetts

The former Conservative Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts has criticised the stance of some Conservative colleagues who argue that “too many people go to university”, noting that Tory areas are the main source of the “problem”. David Willetts: Tory areas are ‘culprits’ if too many people go to university. (THE).


Overseas Students

At the Conservative Party conference, the Home Secretary Theresa May spoke about overseas students. She said that if international students do not have a graduate job after their studies, they must return home. She also commented that universities must be responsible for ensuring that overseas students do not stay in the UK without a graduate job. Theresa May: rules ‘must be enforced’ on overseas students. (THE).

Green Paper

The Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson has revealed that the higher education Green Paper will be due over the next few weeks. The Green Paper will have a focus on the upcoming Teaching Excellence Framework and will invite responses from the sector and employers. Jo Johnson: TEF will include metrics on widening participation. (THE).


Private School Students

UCAS has accused private-school students of “sleepwalking” through their education, shunning hi-tech subjects such as robotics and bio-engineering in favour of “predictable” careers, following many of their parents into law, banking and the media. Private-school students ‘sleepwalking into predictable careers’ (The Guardian).


Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, argues that the teaching excellence framework should not be divorced from the research excellence framework in a blog post for the Guardian. Don’t let politicians drive a wedge between teaching and research (The Guardian).


Overseas Students

Concerns are growing about international students suffering “harsh and unjustified” refusals by Home Office officials after being accepted for admission by UK universities. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), whose membership includes all British universities, says that it has received a “substantial increase in reports of [visa] refusals on grounds of ‘credibility’”. Home Office’s new visa crusade threatens to ‘cut overseas student numbers’ (THE).



According to a report by the Sutton Trust, graduates from Oxford and Cambridge will over their lifetimes earn on average £46,000 annually, compared with £41,000 earned by other Russell Group graduates, and just under £36,000 by graduates from other universities. £10,000 extra a year – the reward of a degree from a top university (The Guardian).


Analysis commissioned by the Sutton Trust has revealed that young people who enrol on the highest-level apprenticeships can expect to earn more over the course of their careers than graduates of all but the most prestigious universities. Higher apprenticeships lead to ‘greater earnings than most degrees’ (THE).