This week there’s been talk about tuition fees and the lack of diversity at universities. Here’s what’s been going on in the Higher Education sector…
Are all universities equal?
A few weeks ago, we covered Theresa May’s comments on freezing fee levels at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. After a summer of Vice Chancellor pay, it appears that university heads are unwilling to attach their names to comments on tuition fees. However, the Guardian reported that lobbying by Russell Group institutions is taking place behind the scenes as a response to funding.
Per their reporting, one Russell Group head anonymously stated:
“Ministers never intended all the new universities to charge the maximum amount. There are some stark surpluses in post-1992 universities, as their costs are much lower. The elephant in the room is whether all institutions should charge the same fees.”
Prof Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University has refuted the idea that modern universities can afford increases in tuition costs:
“Fifty percent of the sector’s unrestricted reserves are in the hands of just 14 institutions and 13 of them are in the Russell Group.”
Nick Hillman, of the Higher Education and Policy Institute, doesn’t share the idea that modern universities can afford funding cuts more easily, pointing to the higher risk factors of modern universities, such as an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Click here to read more on maintenance grants, whether data should drive policy and the debate over value for money.
Data release from Oxford highlights lack of diversity
When former Education Minister, David Lammy, requested ethnicity data from Oxbridge in 2016, he was met with a delayed release from Oxford. When they finally released the information on Thursday, the data indicated that 10 out of 32 Oxford colleges did not award a place to a black British pupil with A-levels in 2015.
Similar data released by Cambridge revealed that six colleges failed to admit any black British A-level students in 2015.
The figures in question do not reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom. Lammy stated, “this is social apartheid and it is utterly unrepresentative of life in modern Britain.”
At Cambridge, applicants from eight areas in the south of England received almost 5,000 offers, whereas students in eight local authority areas across the Midlands, the north and Wales received just eight.
The data was released the same week as Unite Students’ latest Insight Report, ‘Everyone In.’ The report, conducted in partnership with YouthInsight, contains key findings on the non-academic aspects of the student experience. The data also highlights the challenges faced by students from socio-economic groups D and E.
Click here to read the Higher Policy Institute’s response to the report.
Click here to read more about the Oxford data.