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


  • Vice-chancellors are sticking around for longer – and, on average, they stay put for more years than any Secretary of State for Education ever

    26 May 2022 by Nick Hillman

    The Higher Education Policy Institute, with support from executive search firm GatenbySanderson, has published a new paper on the changing tenure of UK university vice-chancellors over the past half a century. Digging in? The changing tenure of UK vice-chancellors (HEPI Policy Note 34) shows that, from the late 1970s to 2011, the…

  • Defend – don’t defund – proven qualifications for school leavers

    28 April 2022

    In a new paper published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (, Holding Talent Back? What is next for the future of Level 3?, 11 different authors consider the Westminster Government’s controversial reforms to Level 3 qualifications, including BTECs. While the Government has confirmed that many Applied General qualifications can…

  • No growth in Chinese Studies graduates during China’s ascendancy

    31 March 2022 by Michael Natzler

    The Higher Education Policy Institute is publishing a new report, Understanding China: The Study of China in UK schools and universities by Michael Natzler (HEPI Report 148), sponsored by the University of St Andrews. The report reviews the current state of teaching and research on China in UK schools and universities. It…

  • ***New*** English Social Mobility Index for 2022

    24 March 2022 by David Phoenix

    The blog below, written by Professor David Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University (LSBU), includes the results of the 2022 Social Mobility Index. We should do more to celebrate those universities which make a contribution to real social mobility – that means getting on, not just getting in. This…

  • Living Black at University: A call to action

    3 February 2022 by Jenny Shaw

    This blog was contributed by Jenny Shaw, Higher External Education Engagement Director at Unite Students. So much of student life is shaped by the experience of being in student accommodation. Living in a student community, making new friends, meeting people from different backgrounds, managing day-to-day life independently are all learning…

  • New report finds ‘first-in-family’ status flawed as a way of helping disadvantaged students

    6 January 2022 by Harriet Coombs

    The Higher Education Policy Institute’s latest report, First-in-Family Students by Harriet Coombs (HEPI Report 146), finds most university students in the UK – just over two-thirds – can be classified ‘first-in-family’. It questions how useful the category is as an indicator for widening participation activities. The paper argues too much weight has…

  • One Nation University: Spreading opportunity, reducing division and building community

    9 December 2021 by Richard Brabner

    In a new Debate Paper from the Higher Education Policy Institute, Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, says universities and the Government should adopt the famous political idea of One Nation to reshape universities in England. Writing in a personal capacity, Brabner says criticism of recent higher education expansion…