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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

One for all or all four one? Does the UK still have a single higher education sector?

  • 16 April 2020
  • By Nick Hillman
  • HEPI number 129

Using almost 60,000 responses to the HEPI / Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey collected between 2015 and 2019, this report considers if the UK still has a single higher education sector – from the perspective of students.

Some important differences are revealed among locally-domiciled students studying in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In particular, the findings suggest students in England work a little less hard, students in Scotland have different attitudes towards funding, students in Wales rate those teaching them more positively and students in Northern Ireland have higher wellbeing.

However, given that many of the differences are relatively slim, the paper concludes that more continues to unite than to divide higher education across the four parts of the UK, despite the increase in devolution and increasingly divergent policies.

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