The Coalition promised a level playing field for all higher education providers. But that has not happened. In place of a level playing field, we have an unkempt meadow. The report looks at eight pinch points where different rules have emerged without a clear rationale, including: tuition fees and loans; the working rights of international students; and access to an independent complaints process.
This update sets out the information that has become available since HEPI's last report on the cost of the Government's reforms (Thompson et al, 2012) and considers some of the criticisms made of that report. By far the biggest change has been the announcement on 5 December 2013 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Government was to ‘abolish the cap on student numbers altogether’. Our first thoughts on this radical development are set out under the final heading – ‘The Autumn Statement’.
In a HEPI report examining the future regulation of higher education in England (published 7 November 2013) HEPI argues that in introducing its funding and other changes to the system of HE in England without securing a robust regulatory environment, the Government has left the sector vulnerable and itself unable to maintain the proper oversight needed to protect the public interest.
This HEPI report (published 3 October 2013) provides an updated assessment of the impact on demand for full-time higher education as a result of the changes in student support and fee levels introduced in England by the Coalition Government in 2012. This latest HEPI report also provides the evidence of the impact of these White Paper changes on part-time higher education.
HEPI concludes that there is prima facie evidence that the White Paper changes led to a reduction in demand, or supply, or both leading to fewer part-time entrants to higher education. Given these provisional findings, this HEPI report describes the changes that may have led to the continuing fall in part-time entrant numbers, considers the further questions that need to be addressed and sets out some policy options.
In this HEPI report, Three Cheers for Lord Leveson: Independent self-regulation - newspapers and universities compared, Rob Behrens, the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, considers the relevance for higher education of the recent attempt at overall of press regulation following the Lord Leveson Inquiry. The report is part of an occasional series of HEPI reports in which HEPI provides a platform for senior figures in the sector to reflect on important issues in higher education policy
Which? has partnered with the Higher Education Policy Institute to conduct the most comprehensive survey yet into the student academic experience. And this year the sample has been large enough to enable us to look at the experiences of a student studying the same subject at different universities. The 2013 Student Academic Experience Survey is published to coincide with HEPI's Spring Conference on university admissions and the academic experience of students.
This HEPI Report - part of an occasional series of HEPI Reports in which HEPI provides a platform for distinguished figures to reflect on important issues in higher education policy - focuses on the new arrangements for quality assurance in higher education with papers by Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive of the QAA and Professor Roger Brown, Professor of HE Policy at Liverpool Hope University.
This HEPI Report discusses the importance of part-time higher education, noting with concern the extent of the reduction in part-time student demand and also that the decline in demand has accelerated sharply this year, even among those part-time students eligible for loans. HEPI argues that not only is it likely that large numbers of part-time students have been put off study by the increased cost, but also that the measure that the Government put in place in the hope of offsetting the potentially off-putting impact of the cost increase has not been effective.
This HEPI Report, written by Ewart Wooldridge, founding Chief Executive of the Leadership for Higher Education (LFHE) offers his personal reflections on the nine years he spent establishing and running the LFHE spanning one of the most challenging periods of change which the HE sector has faced in recent times.
The report is part of an occasional series of HEPI Reports in which HEPI provides a platform for distinguished figures to reflect on important issues in higher education policy.
This report assesses the evidence that is available so far about enrolments at English universities this year. A central concern about the changes introduced in England in 2012 has been whether they would reduce demand for higher education, and particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In carrying out this study we compared the pattern of enrolment over the years immediately preceding 2012 with that around the previous increase in fees in 2006. We also compared these with enrolments in Scotland, where fees are not charged, and we looked in particular at the pattern of deferred entrants as well as the number of students who apply aged 19 instead of the normal age of 18. Taking all these factors into account, our view remains that it is too early to judge whether the reforms taken as a whole have discouraged students in general, and disadvantaged students in particular, but that there is no evidence at present that they have.
This report analyses the evidence of the cost of the Government’s reforms to the funding of higher education effective from this year.
It concludes that the cost will be much higher than has been admitted, both because repayments of loans is likely to be much lower than claimed and also because the inflationary impact of the fees will mean that the level of benefits will be increased.
The report concludes that not only will the new arrangements prove much more expensive than previously thought, but even that they may be more expensive than the arrangements they replaced.
This report analyses the findings of the 2012 survey of various aspects of the student experience, including the amount of contact students have with their staff, the size of teaching groups, and the overall number of hours they devote to their studies. It updates the results of earlier surveys conducted in 2006 and 2007, and reflect on some of policy lessons to be drawn from the results.
Universities and constitutional change in the UK: the impact of devolution on the higher education sectorDate: 16 Apr 2012Author: Tony Bruce
This report considers whether the process of devolution in the UK has encouraged the development of more distinctive HE policies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1999, and assesses the impact of devolution on the HE sectors in those nations, concluding that a number of common themes are emerging.
In this HEPI occasional report, Professor Sir David Watson discusses eight myths - category mistakes - concerning higher education that are widely believed, and argues that these need to be exploded if higher education is to maintain its current comparatively healthy state. This report is based on his presentation to a joint HEPI/HEA seminar at the House of Commons on 26 January 2012.
This report examines the characteristics of the UK higher education system from a number of different dimensions, looking particularly at whether there has been a reduction in diversity over recent years. It concludes that whereas there may have been some minor convergence in some respects, the system remains extremely diverse, and it provides tables and charts that show the extent of this diversity.
The risks of risk-based regulation: the regulatory challenges of the higher education White Paper for EnglandDate: 09 Nov 2011Author: Roger King
There is a growing trend - not only in this country - for governments to seek to lighten the burden of regulation by focusing their attention on those bodies that are at greatest risk of regulatory failure. This is the approach to regulation of higher education that is proposed by the government in its White Paper on higher education. This report, by Professor Roger King, examines risk-based regulation as it applies to higher education and the implications of this approach.
Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System. An Analysis of the Higher Education White PaperDate: 17 Aug 2011Author: John Thompson and Bahram Bekhradnia
This report analyses the Government's White Paper on the future of higher education. It concludes that the Government's policies will succeed in their most important aim – that of reducing the level of tuition fees. However, the price will be much greater government control over universities than in the past, and a system where market mechanisms have had to be sacrificed to central direction. The reforms are also likely to lead to a polarized sector with a small number of institutions charging the maximum fee of £9000 and the majority reducing their fees to around £7500. The report concludes further that there are serious doubts about whether the new funding arrangements will lead to savings on the scale predicted by the government.
This report considers the implications of current developments in the provision of private higher education. It concludes that private HE is a growing phenomenon, that can bring benefits to students, governments and society more widely, so long as measures are in place to ensure high quality. However the current regulatory environment has developed piecemeal, and the Report argues that a new Private Higher Education Act is needed. It also concludes that private providers should be treated on the same footing as public, and that differences in their treatment should exist only where fully and explicitly justified.
This reports considers the question of university governance and suggests that fundamental changes are needed because the balance of interests in our universities is rapidly changing. Students are increasingly taking on the full costs of their education, the state is moving towards being a loan facility rather than a granting body, and the pressures of competition are driving universities to be more entrepreneurial. Yet, the one unique role of the university, its "neutral space" for the generation and dissemination of knowledge, must still be preserved at all costs. The report looks at emerging questions for this changed new era. Whose interests should institutional governors serve in future? What skills should be required of future governors? And what authority should they hold, or should be held over them?
The UKBA’s Proposed Restrictions on Tier 4 visas: implications for University recruitment of overseas studentsDate: 18 Feb 2011Author: Professor Edward Acton
Professor Edward Acton analyses the Government's proposals to class international students as migrants with the resulting restriction on student visas, and shows the devastating effect this will have on the recruitment of international students and so the financial health of universities, as well as the damage it will cause to the UK economy.