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  • The students of tomorrow

    The students of tomorrow

    By Aaron Porter – For those of you watching the recent debate on English higher education funding on our TV screens and on the front pages of our newspapers, you could be forgiven for thinking that higher education was predominantly made up of full-time undergraduates, largely aged between 18-22. Of course that is not the case, and is increasingly less likely to be the case as we start to get under the skin of an ever-changing and diverse higher education […]

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  • Learning for the future

    Learning for the future

    By Phil Race – It has long been recognised that learning happens by doing rather than by just being in the presence of someone more learned. For centuries, higher education educators’ roles centred on transmitting the content of precious books, articles and other resources in ways that learners could handle. Now, information is ubiquitous. Most learning resources are available to just about everyone on-line (often free) or through a plethora of information-handling channels. This necessitates transformed roles for educators, to help […]

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  • Changing student expectations

    Changing student expectations

    By Jamie O’Connell – The growing cost of higher education the world over means that the motivations for attending and the expectations of the service received are changing. In the past year two major events have happened to profoundly influence UK higher education (HE) policy, the impact of which won’t be fully felt by students until 2012. Firstly a Coalition Government, led by the Conservative party, was voted in to power in April 2010. The Conservatives have looked to aggressively […]

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  • Meeting the challenge of heightened expectations: how universities can enhance the student experience

    Meeting the challenge of heightened expectations: how universities can enhance the student experience

    By Paul Marshall – The passage of new tuition fee legislation in December 2010 will be marked for future generations as a turning point in the history of the UK HE sector.  The merits of the withdrawal of the state from the blanket subsidy of undergraduate degree programs and the transfer of the costs to the student has been much discussed, debated, argued and indeed, rioted upon. These debates, however, have created a foggy cloud under which the wider debate […]

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  • Securing the future of postgraduate education

    Securing the future of postgraduate education

    By Geoff Whitty – The UK Government was slow to recognise a threat to the future health of postgraduate provision in English universities. Initially, it seemed to accept the 2010 Browne report’s assumption that, not only was there no need to extend the proposed undergraduate student support package to postgraduates, existing state funding to institutions for most taught Master’s courses could cease on the same basis as for undergraduate courses.[1] Ministers claimed that withdrawal of funding for courses would be […]

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  • A worried parent writes

    A worried parent writes

    By Stefan Stern – “Plumbing college.” This was my wife’s not entirely satirical answer to the question about where she hoped our children might end up studying. Plumbing college clearly has a lot to recommend it. You learn useful and relevant skills there. You become eminently employable. And you probably don’t find yourself having £30,000 of tuition fees to pay back when you finally complete the course. But all this talk of fees and employability takes us down an avenue […]

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  • What should higher education be for?

    What should higher education be for?

    By Charles Seaford, Laura Stoll and Louis Coiffait – In the foreword of his recent report on UK higher education funding, Lord Browne wrote that: “the return to graduates for studying will be on average around 400%”.   In this world view higher education is an economic investment, and there is and should be pressure to take a high paying job. Indeed it would be inefficient for graduates to take lower paid jobs: the market, as manifest in salary scales, […]

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  • The future funding of higher education: has the Treasury got the sums wrong?

    The future funding of higher education: has the Treasury got the sums wrong?

    By Pam Tatlow – Regardless of any Liberal-Democrat election manifesto promise, the die for higher fees was cast when George Osborne’s October 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) adopted the assumption that the public funding of teaching in English universities was a subsidy rather than an investment. In the ensuing and often heated debate about the impact on institutions, students and graduates, of allowing fees to rise to £9,000, surprisingly little has been said about the implications for the Exchequer, the […]

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  • How a better HE funding system could make everybody happy

    How a better HE funding system could make everybody happy

    By Johnny Rich – Minimal student debt, properly funded universities, low cost to the taxpayer and highly employable graduates available to recruiters at the right price. An impossible pipe dream, surely? Actually, no. But unfortunately, such a confluence of virtues would indeed be impossible under the current HE funding system. That is because each is set at odds with another. For students to have low debts, the universities must go without funds or the taxpayer must foot the bill. And, […]

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