HE Policy Update

EU referendum

The Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP released a statement on 28th June on ‘higher education and research following the EU referendum’.

  • He confirmed that EU citizens currently studying in the UK, or starting their courses in September 2016 will continue to receive loans until they finish their courses.
  • There will be no immediate changes concerning immigration rules of British students living in the EU, and European students living in the UK.
  • There are no changes to students studying in the EU, beneficiaries of Erasmus+ or those considering applying in 2017.
  • There will be no immediate effect on those applying to or participating in Horizon 2020.

Any future changes to the above will depend on the negotiations between the UK and EU.

Jo Johnson also spoke at the Wellcome Trust on ‘Leading the world in the new age of global science’.

  • He said that the prospect of Brexit inevitably poses new challenges at a time when research itself is becoming more collaborative and more global, and that our task now is to chart a course that protects the UK’s status as a full-spectrum scientific power.
  • The government will be creating a new annual £1 million Newton Prize. The prize will be awarded for the best science or innovation projects that promote the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries, or address the problems of poor people around the world.
  • The government want the REF and the TEF to be mutually reinforcing and will ask institutions to consider how they promote research-led teaching in their TEF submissions.
  • Jo Johnson also announced he would be concerned about any discrimination against UK participants in Horizon 2020.

Jane Forster has written a blog about the next steps for higher education in light of the EU referendum result, you can view the blog on the Bournemouth University website.

Graduate Employment

The DLHE survey for 2014/15 has been published. The Times Higher has reported that the proportion of UK university leavers in work or further study has hit a record high, with more graduates going into professional jobs, but that there is a growing gender pay gap, with male graduates earning significantly more on average than their female counterparts. However The Telegraph reports that over 50,000 new graduates are in non-graduate jobs, including lollypop ladies, factory workers and hospital porters.

Irish Higher Education

Irish universities risk losing part of their funding if they fail to tackle gender inequality under proposed reforms to improve women’s promotion chances in academia. Institutions would also be unable to apply for research funding if they failed to achieve at least a Silver Athena SWAN award within seven years. Improve gender balance in Irish HE or face fines, says review (THE).

Student Loans

The Petitions Committee has granted a debate on ‘stopping retrospective changes to the student loans agreement’ following the petition on the subject receiving over 100,000 signatures. The debate will take place on 18th July at 4:30pm and will be led by Helen Jones MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee. You can watch the debate via this link.


An article in the Times Higher Education claims that an industry-wide, university-student “contract to educate” must be implemented. This should incorporate as binding terms the representations made by the university to the applicant/student-consumer, and include the essential comparative data that students need to begin to overcome the information asymmetry problem. The TEF: trading standards whose time has come (THE).