HE Policy Update


UCAS is considering a clearing overhaul which would allow students to reject their offers and throw their name back into the hat for a better course. The changes would apply to those applicants who have performed better than expected or changed their minds about where they want to study. Major changes to clearing could see students ‘throw their name back into the hat’ after A-level results. (The Telegraph).

Graduate tax

A blog on Wonkhe highlights the disadvantages of a graduate tax, including that many students would pay much more under this system. The post comes after Owen Smith, Labour leadership contender, proposed he would fund university education through a graduate tax system.  The graduate tax: higher education’s zombie idea (Wonkhe).


A post on Wonkhe looks into what we know about the new NSS. The post discusses the nine new questions on student engagement, optional banks, and the question on student unions. Information, information, information: how is the new NSS shaping up? (Wonkhe).

French universities

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has outlined the higher education reforms he would make if elected president in 2017. He has said that universities should be selective in choosing candidates for undergraduate and masters courses as well as being able to set their tuition fees without any limit imposed by government. Sarkozy proposes ‘explosive’ university reforms (Research Professional).


A HEFCE blog post looks at what it is like to graduate in a recession. The last recession in the UK resulted in the proportion of 2007-08 graduates in professional roles falling by 3 percentage points compared to the previous year. However, after a further 12 months of economic contraction, the impact on the graduates of 2008-09 was worse as the rate fell by 4 percentage points. What happens if you graduate in a recession? (HEFCE).

Visa applications

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics there has been a fall in the number of students from outside the European Union applying for visas to study at UK universities. Number of visa applications for university study falls (THE).


The Times Higher reports that British universities will not immediately press the government to seek associated country status in European Union research programmes after Brexit, but will instead explore all options to find a politically acceptable solution. Brexit: UK considers alternative options to EU research association (THE).