HE Policy Update


Freedom of Speech

Free speech is under growing threat at British universities, with serious restrictions on expression at more than half of campuses. Student unions or universities banned speakers, pressure groups, types of behaviour, songs and even hand gestures on 55 per cent of campuses last year, up from 41 per cent in 2014, according to a new analysis. Half of UK universities are curbing free speech. (The Times).

Graduate Jobs

Graduates turned down a record number of top jobs last year and left more than 1000 posts unfilled a report by High Fliers Research found. ‘Picky’ university graduates turn down record number of top jobs (The Independent).


Student Grants

Opposition MPs have protested against government measures to replace grants for students from the poorest households in England with repayable loans. Labour challenges final end of student grants (BBC News).

Degree Requirements

Penguin Random House will no longer require candidates for new jobs to have a university degree in order to open up opportunities to attract more varied candidates into publishing. Penguin ditches degree requirement for job applicants (The Guardian).


Migration Advisory Committee

The Migration Advisory Committee which advises MPs, has suggested that the earnings of skilled immigrants seeking visas have been set too high.  It also suggests that employers should pay an immigration charge of £1,000 per person per year, which would affect universities that recruit international staff. You can view the press release here.

Ministerial Committee

Business secretary Sajid Javid has said that his department has not decided whether to create a ministerial committee to oversee science spending across both the research councils and government departments. Ministerial committee not yet a done deal, says Javid (Research Professional).

Student Grants

David Cameron has claimed the government’s move to scrap student maintenance grants allowed it to uncap student numbers, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged him on the controversial policy at the Prime Minister’s Questions. David Cameron: scrapping grants allows move to uncap student numbers (THE).


Green Paper

Universities UK and GuildHE, the sector’s two representative organisations, are among the bodies to give a critical reception to a keystone of the government’s higher education Green Paper. TEF: government under fire on link to multiple fee caps (THE).

Higher Education Academy

The Higher Education Academy is to double its subscription fees for most universities, and will require academics to pay a membership fee and complete continuing professional development in order to retain their fellowships.  HEA subscription fees to double for most universities (THE).


HE Staff

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, higher education providers added 8,055 jobs in the year to 2014-15, an increase of 2 per cent. Staff numbers rise. (Research Professional).

Student Numbers

A dozen universities accepted ten per cent fewer full-time undergraduates in 2015 compared to 2012, according to figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admission Service. Waxing and waning (Research Professional).