Higher education policy

One in five students lose money by going to university, IFS finds | Education

One in five students would be financially better off if they skipped higher education, according to groundbreaking research that compares the lifetime earnings of graduates and non-graduates. Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found while 80% of former students gained financially from attending university, about 20% earned less than those with similar school results who did not attend, highlighting how some subjects, such as creative arts, offer negative financial returns. The IFS research – which uses tax data to…

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Are junior academic roles at universities stepping stones or exploitation? | Letters | Education

Re Owen Jones’s article (We will all pay for the crisis in our universities, Journal, 14 February), I am the mother of a young academic who, since her graduation three years ago, has jumped through every hoop required and yet is still employed on a casual, short-term basis with no career structure, and no security. These young scholars are being continually forced to take on administrative work by senior staff, working regularly through the night so they can not only…

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UK universities face pressure to reform admissions process | Education

British universities are taking a hard look at changes to their admissions procedures for undergraduates, after evidence that significant numbers of disadvantaged and ethnic minority students are dissatisfied with the current system.A survey of university applicants commissioned by vice-chancellors and seen by the Guardian found that many black and other ethnic minority candidates, as well as those from families without a history of studying in higher education, complained of obstacles during their applications, including poor careers advice and a time-consuming…

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Universities must do more for black students, warns watchdog | Education

Universities in England have been warned they need to improve their treatment of students, after new data revealed stark gaps in achievement for black students and higher drop-out rates for students with mental health difficulties or from disadvantaged backgrounds. The figures released by the Office for Students, the higher education regulator for England, marks a shift towards a new focus on how students from different backgrounds cope with university life, what class of degree they emerge with and what they…

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No room for you in lectures, top universities tell first-year students | Education

Students at prestigious universities have been turned away from overcrowded lectures and told to watch classes online or in overflow rooms. The Observer found that students paying £9,250 or more in Manchester, Nottingham and Lancaster, had struggled to get a seat in lectures. Manchester University maths students in a 600-capacity hall were given slips with a link to a YouTube live stream and told they could “sit in a coffee shop” and watch. They were also given the option of…

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Oxford Brookes doing worse than University of Oxford on state school admissions | Education

An Oxford university is struggling to meet targets for widening participation, according to the latest set of official statistics – but it’s not the university you might think. Figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal that Oxford Brookes University admitted a higher proportion of privately educated undergraduates than most other UK universities, and more than some highly selective institutions such as the London School of Economics. Oxford Brookes – founded in 1865 and now with 18,000 full and…

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Black female professors must deal with bullying to win promotion, report finds | Education

Black female professors have to overcome bullying, stereotyping and institutional neglect in order to win promotion, according to a damning new report of their experiences working at British universities. In interviews with 20 of the total 25 black female professors working in UK universities, Nicola Rollock, the report’s author, said that their experiences made for depressing reading. “What they are saying is that their entire careers have been characterised by abuse and exclusion, and that their race has been the…

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Minister criticises lack of senior black UK academics | Education

The universities minister has criticised UK higher education institutions for their failure to recruit and promote black and minority ethnic academics, after figures showed that no black staff were employed at the most senior levels. Chris Skidmore, higher education minister for England, said it was unacceptable that the number of black academics in the most senior leadership roles had fallen from an estimated five in 2017-18 to possibly zero in the last academic year. According to figures published by the…

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Third of non-EU university students in UK come from China | Education

The number of students from China at British universities increased again last year, with the latest figures showing that recruitment of Chinese students outstripped those from other countries. The Higher Education Statistics Agency’s breakdown of students in UK higher education last year showed that the number of students from China rose above 120,000 for the first time, accounting for more than one in every three non-EU students. While the number of new students coming from EU countries rose by 2%…

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Record numbers of state school pupils offered Oxford places | Education

State school pupils have won nearly 70% of Oxford University’s undergraduate places next year, a record level that represents a remarkable turnaround in the university’s intake over the last five years. Oxford announced that 69% of the offers it made this week were to British students from state schools or colleges for courses starting in October 2020, of a total of 3,909 sent to British and international applicants. Five years ago, state school applicants to Oxford received just 56% of…

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Sussex University offers students up to £100 for strike distress | Education

The University of Sussex is offering students up to £100 if they suffered “distress and inconvenience” during recent strikes, becoming the first British university to give compensation to students in the middle of industrial action. The move is a sign of the increasing efforts by universities to resolve student complaints swiftly and head off action through the courts or regulators that could lead to more damaging penalties. Sussex launched its “industrial action ex gratia scheme” this week, with an email…

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Third of Cambridge University staff ‘have experienced bullying’ | Education

Nearly a third of staff at the University of Cambridge say they have experienced bullying and harassment in the workplace, according to an internal survey obtained by the Guardian that revealed what one union called “a culture of bullying” in parts of the institution. Responses from 3,000 academic and non-academic staff – a quarter of Cambridge’s total workforce – found that nearly one in three had either been the victims of bullying and other forms of victimisation or had seen…

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Graduates in England face increasing debt burden, Labour warns | Education

Graduates of English universities will be exposed to an increasing debt burden within the next five years, with total interest on undergraduate student loans set to double. The government figures, highlighted by Labour as an example of the “eye-watering” debts being accrued, show that the interest charged on student loans is forecast to rise by £4.2bn to £8.6bn a year by 2024. Most of the increase will come from the interest on undergraduate student debt after 2012, when tuition fees…

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Bristol students told to study at SS Great Britain due to overcrowding | Education

Overcrowding in libraries and a severe shortage of desks have led to students at the University of Bristol being offered places to study at the SS Great Britain. The university’s history department has told students looking for somewhere quiet to revise during the January exam period that they can reserve desks at the site in Bristol harbour where Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s steamship is housed in a dry dock, more than a mile from their campus across the Avon. The students…

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‘Easier’ exams offered by private schools smooth pupils’ entry to top universities | Education

Top universities are giving privately educated children an unfair advantage by not differentiating between the rigorous GCSEs compulsory in the state system and less demanding exams taken in many fee-paying schools, MPs and educationists have said. Just days after GCSE results day last Thursday, Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by Labour MP Lucy Powell show that almost all Russell Group universities treat the two types of exam – the regulated GCSEs used in the state system, and IGCSEs, which the…

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Don’t mislead applicants, regulator warns universities | Education

England’s higher education regulator is urging universities to avoid using misleading adverts and financial inducements to attract students, saying it could encourage applicants to make choices that are not in their best interests. The Office for Students said offering inducements such as last-minute bursaries to fill up undergraduate courses risked students being swayed by “a sales pitch with questionable incentives” rather than academic criteria. “There are concerns about the use of financial offers and inducements being made to prospective students…

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