I don’t think I agree with the idea of university as a ‘failsafe’, although I’m still not sure I understand what you intend by the word. So I’m going to use Matt Pinkett’s line: ‘Aim for whatever you want to do, and if you don’t get it, well, at least you can go to university.’ That assumes that whatever you want to do won’t be best achieved by going to uni. Obviously, university is not the best route for everything or for everyone, but for the vast majority of the best paid and most secure jobs, it is – if not a prerequisite – at least a
There is plenty of research showing a significant earnings premium on average for graduates regardless of background. Probably the most comprehensive work is the paper by the IFS ‘How English domiciled graduate earnings vary with gender, institution attended, subject and socio-economic background’. The Sutton Trust has also done many excellent studies on different aspects of this question which is actually a lot more complex than it sounds.
Read Fairer funding: the case for a graduate levy (HEPI Policy Note) and, exclusively on this site, Fairer funding: the case for a graduate levy (full proposal). What I’d like for Christmas: We should abolish tuition fees. We should fund English universities well enough that they can continue to be among the best in the world. We should match graduates and jobs so that they have the right skills to get jobs they want and succeed in them. We should ensure that the nation’s skills gaps are plugged. We shouldn’t ask the taxpayer to pay for more than the public benefit of higher education. Is
Today, The Guardian reported the publication of a report out today from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) with the headline ‘“Less than half’ of tuition fees spent on teaching at English universities‘. The headline here is more than a little misleading as the article goes on to report how HEPI’s paper shows how almost all of the tuition fees charged to students at English universities are spent on student-facing costs. However, to understand this issue, we also need to remember some other stuff about fees. When fees were tripled to £9k, the intention was that 1/3 of the income over £6k would be spent
BBC Radio 4 reported this morning a leak from the current Augar Review of Post-18 Education Funding. They claimed that a ‘source’ had supported a report in The Times last week that the review would propose that tuition fees should be capped at £6,500 and the “shortfall would be made up by capping student numbers”. For starters, the way this is worded makes no sense as capping numbers would only make funding shortfall worse, not better because of loss of economies of scale. I put this down to the BBC’s over-simplified description. More worryingly, this would be a disaster for any course costing more to run.
If you want to cut fees to win back the youth vote, you start with the courses that give the lowest financial returns, right? At first glance, this looks like a good idea to a new Secretary of State. So we can forgive Damian Hinds for flying the policy kite of differential fees for STEM and arts degrees amid the announcement of the HE and Post-18 Review. However, after even a moment’s thought, the idea collapses. It is a policy that is misisng a clearly defined intended consequence and yet would undam a flood of unintended ones. The problem is that all too often kite-flying
Widening participation: Who gains? This is the text of a presentation I gave recently at a roundtable outlining the case for employers to get involved in the promotion of wider access to higher education. Why should employers care about widening participation in higher education? The answer depends on how we see the role of HE in society. Among other things, it is a training ground for the workforce, many of whom work within the private sector. Even if they don’t end up as private sector employees, having a larger supply of graduates is a cultural and economic resource that drives regional, national and global prosperity