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


The HEPI Blog aims to make brief, incisive contributions to the higher education policy landscape. It is circulated to our subscribers and published online. We welcome guest submissions, which should follow our Instructions for Blog Authors. Submissions should be sent to our Blog Editor, Josh Freeman, at [email protected].

  • REF, TEF and tumble: will the TEF lead to a new division between lecturers and researchers?

    7 September 2015 by Tom McKenzie

    This guest blog is written by Tom McKenzie, Lecturer in Economics at the University of Dundee and Fellow of the London Centre for Social Studies. It is, in part, a response to HEPI’s recent publication comparing the UK and German higher education systems. University academics multitask. Broadly, our time is split between research, teaching and administrative…

  • What’s the gestation period of a TEF?

    28 August 2015 by Nick Hillman

    The Government is, rightly in my view, committed to raising the salience of good teaching in higher education. Its preferred means for doing so is a new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). No one yet knows exactly what that will look like. Only two things are certain: one, that the TEF will be hard…

  • The OBR responds to HEPI on student numbers

    7 August 2015

    In mid-July, I blogged on the seemingly ever-changing forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (or OBR) on future student numbers, which can be read here. The OBR has treated that blog as a formal ‘request for further detail’. I wholeheartedly welcome their willingness to respond to my comments and their response can be…

  • The challenge of making TEF-lite work

    29 July 2015

    The University Alliance hosted a stimulating event to discuss the threats and opportunities of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) earlier today. Not only were there platform speeches from senior people from HEFCE, BIS, Coventry University and the University of South Wales, there was even an interview with a real live student (often notable by…

  • Some reading for the week

    26 July 2015

    On Monday, UniversitiesUK launch their pro-EU and anti-Brexit campaign. It is notable for the sector’s desire to be out-of-the-blocks quickly and for its unrelentingly positive focus. It seems likely to get lots of media coverage. The difference between the last major referendum in the UK – the referendum on Scottish…

  • The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and student numbers

    13 July 2015

    It is said that replacing maintenance grants with bigger loans could lead to fewer undergraduates. That may prove a rash assumption. Against consensus opinion, the tripling of tuition fee loans to £3,000 in 2006 and again to £9,000 in 2012 made little difference to the behaviour of young full-time applicants.…

  • Alternative providers … or challenger institutions?

    10 July 2015

    Today’s Productivity paper from HM Treasury provides yet more evidence, if any were needed, that the Conservative-majority Government is doing things differently to the Conservative-led Coalition. The 2010 to 2015 Government made one early decision that transformed the finances of some alternative higher education providers (known as APs) when allowing their…

  • Come and join the HEPI team (Oxford based)

    9 June 2015

    As regular readers of this website know, HEPI is the UK’s only specialist think tank on higher education. We have a lively programme of events and publications, which are masterminded from our office in north Oxford. We have a small central team and are now looking to recruit a new…