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


  • Governance in Higher Education: Don’t Panic

    8 February 2016

    This guest blog has been kindly contributed by John Rushforth (, who is part-time Secretary to the Committee of University Chairs and formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West of England. We live in uncertain times, but universities are complex global enterprises and change is inevitable. One theme of recent years is increasing expectations…

  • Why are EU student numbers growing so fast?

    4 February 2016

    The new UCAS figures on applications to higher education are ‘the first reliable indicator of demand for UK higher education this cycle.’ The main headline is one of broad stability: UK applicant numbers (495,940) have decreased slightly (-0.3%), due to fewer English applicants (-1%) mostly aged between 20 and 34. The number of applicants from…

  • BIS to erase its institutional memory on higher education?

    30 January 2016

    The single most frustrating thing about working in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which looks after higher education policy, is the lack of institutional memory. The surest way for a BIS official to be promoted is to change jobs as frequently as possible. This matters for good policymaking. For example,…

  • The role of a think tank on the TEF

    27 January 2016

    The biggest joy I experienced on becoming the Director of an independent think tank two years ago, after a decade working for a political party, was the freedom to follow the evidence. People condemn politicians for not listening ‘to the experts’, but the job of our elected representatives is to…

  • Sharia-compliant student loans: the perspective from Australia

    25 January 2016 by Conor King

    This week’s guest blog comes from Conor King, Executive Director of Innovative Research Universities, which is an Australian ‘network of six comprehensive universities conducting research of national and international standing.’ Conor looks at one long-standing commitment of the UK Government, which was repeated in the recent higher education green paper: to introduce Sharia-compliant student loans. He builds…

  • Laissez-faire it is not.

    8 January 2016

    The controversies stoked by the higher education green paper continue to be in the news, not least because of our own response to the green paper (which was published yesterday). That is as it should be, because the volume of proposals on higher education emanating from the Government since they…

  • Remembering Professor Sir David Watson

    4 January 2016

    This guest blog has been contributed by Mrs Sam Davies, Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, at the University of Brighton. David was a long-standing and faithful friend of HEPI’s and we are pleased to be able to publicise this welcome initiative. David’s last two publications for HEPI can be found here and…

  • Taking issue with the ESRC-funded ‘Alternative Politics of Debt’

    29 December 2015 by Nick Hillman

    The Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) at Goldsmiths, University of London, recently put up a post entitled ‘Debt Briefing 01: Student Debt in the United Kingdom‘. This was part of an ESRC-funded project on ‘Crafting an Alternative Politics of Debt’. The piece is a useful summary of some of the debates around…