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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].

  • £6k for STEM? Key questions

    21 January 2015 by Nick Hillman

    A new rumour has been sucked into the vacuum where Labour’s student fees policy will eventually be – a lower fee cap (£6k) for STEM undergraduates. Isabel Hardman is an excellent journalist, but I stress I’ve no idea if the party really is seriously considering the policy. UKIP claim the idea…

  • Free access to community college benefits students but not the nation by Donald E. Heller

    17 January 2015

    HEPI generally only publishes exclusive content, but there has been relatively little discussion in the UK of Obama’s new proposals for free two-year community college places. So we have decided as a one-off to reprint this recent article by Donald E. Heller, Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University. It previously appeared on The…

  • A Christmas present from HEPI

    23 December 2014

    On 27th November, Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, delivered the 11th Annual Lecture. Professor Wellings’s title was ‘The Architecture and the Plumbing: What features do the Higher Education systems in the UK and Australia have in common?’ We are today publishing the full text which, for the…

  • REF-eree! They think it’s all over. It is – for now

    18 December 2014 by Nick Hillman

    This blog post argues: the REF process has been run smoothly and complaints about the principle of research evaluation do not typically extend to the way the process has been run; the improvements in the UK’s research performance in REF2014 are not surprising but could lead to greater concentration of funding,…

  • The Public Accounts Committee, alternative providers and mission-group land

    15 December 2014

    The Public Accounts Committee hearing this afternoon on alternative providers of higher education was a bruising affair. Margaret Hodge was in the Chair and she and her cross-party members ferociously grilled the witnesses from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Student Loans Company, the Higher Education Funding Council…

  • Three key questions on postgraduate loans

    3 December 2014

    There are strong rumours that the Chancellor will announce a new system of postgraduate loans in his autumn statement today. This would tackle some access problems by making finance less of a barrier. It’s not clear if George Osborne will announce a fully worked-out scheme or (probably more likely) promise to consult on the details.…

  • National Audit Office on alternative providers

    2 December 2014

    The National Audit Office have today published the Investigation into financial support for students at alternative higher education providers. It is interesting and timely.* It includes challenges for BIS, HE regulators and alternative providers. And it contains some useful new evidence, including examples of the adverts used to entice people on to courses.…

  • Too good to fail by Ruth Thompson

    26 November 2014

    In this guest blog, Ruth Thompson, co-chair of the Higher Education Commission’s recent inquiry into financial sustainability (and a member of the Hepi Advisory Board), discusses the group’s recent work. On 24 November the Higher Education Commission launched the report of its latest inquiry, into the financial sustainability of English HE.…

  • Student loans: BIS Select Committee versus the Government

    16 November 2014 by Nick Hillman

    Ten days ago, the Government’s response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee’s report on Student Loans was published. It received some press coverage at the time, for example from Times Higher Education, the BBC and the Guardian. They all rightly focussed on the Government’s refusal to accept Recommendation 11, which called ‘for an urgent…