Higher education policy

Plan to cap numbers at UK universities to go ahead | Education

The UK government is going ahead with controversial plans to limit the number of students from England who can enrol at universities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, rejecting opposition from the devolved administrations. Education ministers from Scotland and Wales angrily denounced the move, which they said was designed to stop damaging competition for students among English universities but could instead destabilise their own institutions. Michelle Donelan, the higher education minister for England, held meetings throughout the day with her…

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Scottish and Welsh universities criticise UK cap on student numbers | Education

University leaders have reacted angrily to the UK government’s plan to control the number of students from England who can study in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, saying that it was punishing them for problems caused by the coronavirus outbreak in England. The Department for Education in England is expected to confirm a cap on the number of undergraduates each university can recruit this autumn – limiting institutions to an increase of no more than 6.5% in the number of…

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England to limit students going to Wales, Scotland and N Ireland | Education

The government in Westminster will limit the number of students from England who can go to university in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland next year, leading to accusations that it is “trampling on devolution”. As part of its plans to cap the number of undergraduates that universities in England can teach in 2020-21, the Department for Education (DfE) is also to announce on Monday that it will extend the cap to include English students applying to higher education outside England.…

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Soas to slash budgets and staff as debt crisis worsens in pandemic | Education

Soas University of London is being forced to slash budgets and prepare significant staff cuts after being caught in a financial crisis hastened by the coronavirus pandemic, the Guardian can reveal. Staff say they fear that management is cutting costs to make the college, formerly called the School of Oriental and African Studies, a palatable takeover target for an overseas institution or one of its London rivals, as the latest financial figures show that it to be carrying multi-million pound…

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UK universities facing £760m hit as one in five students plan to defer | Universities

British universities face a potential £760m blow to their funding after about one in five students said they would not enrol in the next academic year if classes were delivered online and other activities curtailed. A survey of students applying for undergraduate places found that more than 20% said they were willing to delay starting their courses if universities were not operating as normal due to the coronavirus pandemic, which would mean there would be 120,000 fewer students when the…

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Ministers split over bailout package for universities | Education

Ministers are split over a bailout package for universities, as vice-chancellors warn of bankruptcies in the Midlands and north of England and new figures reinforce fears that international students will avoid the UK during the coronavirus outbreak. Discussions over extra support are said to have run into an impasse between the Treasury, led by the chancellor Rishi Sunak, and the Department for Education. The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, is arguing for a stabilisation package that would offset the enormous losses…

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Coronavirus UK: Universities face £2.5bn tuition fee loss next year | Education

Capping the number of students who can attend each British university will not stave off the financial catastrophe that institutions face following the coronavirus outbreak, a report from the University and College Union (UCU) warns. The report forecasts the sector could lose around £2.5bn next year in tuition fees alone, along with the loss of 30,000 university jobs, based on gloomy predictions of international and domestic students staying away if Covid-19 continues unchecked. The government is negotiating with the university…

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UK universities plead for billions of pounds in support | Education

British universities have made a plea for billions of pounds’ worth of research and bailout funding to survive the coronavirus crisis, offering to slash budgets and cap student recruitment in return. The Guardian has learned that the University of St Andrews – one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions – is among those facing a black hole in its accounts due to the pandemic. In response to the crisis, Universities UK (UUK) has proposed a series of measures to…

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Covid-19 is our best chance to change universities for good I Steven Jones | Education

March is normally one of the busiest months in the academic calendar. Lecture theatres bulge, coffee queues lengthen and library shelves empty. The interactions are multilingual and non-stop. This year, silence. Buildings are in lockdown and staff barred from their offices. Those students who remain are mostly unable to go home. But learning goes on, displaced, not discontinued. In many respects, Covid-19 is drawing out the best from staff, their commitment to students’ education and wellbeing shining through the uncertainty.…

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Concern for A-level students over cap on university admissions | Education

School leaders are urging the government to ensure A-level students who have had their exams cancelled this summer because of the Covid-19 crisis do not face further disadvantage by losing university places because of a cap on student numbers. The warning came after the Guardian revealed that strict limits on the number of students each university in England can recruit are likely to be imposed by the government to create more stability and avoid an admissions free-for-all as the sector…

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UK universities face cash black hole amid coronavirus crisis | Education

British universities face a black hole of hundreds of millions of pounds in tuition fees from the impact of coronavirus as international students from China and other severely affected countries are forced to cancel or postpone enrolments. Sources told the Guardian that most universities are planning for new students from China to delay entry until January next year, with online teaching offered. Exams, including English language tests required for visas and university admissions, have been cancelled in China, where 80,000…

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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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