HE Policy Update

EU funded projects- Brexit

The Government has announced that the Treasury will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before the UK leaves the European Union. This includes cases where specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. You can view the full announcement here.

Maintenance grants

Labour has announced it would restore grants to help young people in England stay in further and higher education. This would mean a return for education maintenance allowances (EMA) which was scrapped by the coalition government in 2010. It would also mean reversing the decision to turn maintenance grants into repayable loans. Labour promises return of student maintenance grants (BBC News).

A-Level results

A record number of students were placed in UK universities and colleges as A-level results were released, with acceptances up 2.9 per cent year-on-year. Ucas said that 423,880 applicants had secured a place as of midnight on 18 August, an increase of 11,800 on the same point in 2015. Record number of students win university places (THE).

Graduate wages

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a briefing note on graduate wages. The report reveals that despite the recent fall in the average graduate real wage, their wage relative to school-leavers’ has remained relatively unchanged. The report also reveals that UK firms have become less hierarchical over time: instead of having a few skilled managers to dictate how a larger number of unskilled workers should work, now more managerial decisions are decentralised and made by skilled workers.

 Language departments

It has been warned that more university language departments could face closure if student recruitment continues to decline. Ucas data shows that the number of applicants placed on to European language and literature courses at UK higher education institutions on A-level results day was down 7.8 per cent year-on-year, with an intake of 3,080 being a record low for recent years. University language departments ‘at risk’ as recruitment slumps (THE).

Teaching quality

Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, has written about teaching quality in The Daily Telegraph. He writes “there is unacceptable patchiness that requires our attention and, if we are to make sure that our university system retains its world-leading status, we simply cannot stand still”. Universities must wipe out mediocre teaching and drive up student engagement (The Telegraph).