Can universities exceed the £9000 fee cap?

Balliol College, Oxford, is planning to introduce a £500 a year levy  to all new students next academic year. Is this a loophole that will allow universities to exceed the new £9000 p.a. fee cap without opting out of the public system entirely? Continue reading

LSE Public Debate – “Big Society and Social Policy in Britain”: A Panel Discussion

Department of Social Policy / STICERD Public Debate – “Big Society and Social Policy in Britain”: A Panel Discussion

Date: 27th January 2011
Time: 6:30 – 8pm
Venue: Old Theatre
Speakers: Professor David Lewis, Karl Wilding, Frances Crook, Rory Stewart.
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand, LSE
This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.For further information regarding the event please view|, or click here| (PDF) to view the full details.
Should you have any queries regarding the event please email Maria Schlegel:

Stanley Fish: Browne does not recognise the value of learning

Writing in the New York Times the literary scholar Stanley Fish has criticised the underlying assumptions of the Browne report and its ‘relentless monetization of everything in sight.’

Willetts’ ‘farcical’ claims

Professor Nicola Miller, chair of the Humanities and Social Science Matter campaign, argues in a letter in the Guardian today that it is ‘farcical’ of David Willetts to claim that cutting all direct government support for the humanities and social science will improve the student experience. The full text of the letter is below the fold: Continue reading

Lords reject appeal to discuss ‘game changing’ privitisation of universities

The House of Lords this evening rejected an amendment that called for more time to discuss the implications of the removal of the teaching grant and supported the government’s resolution to raise the fee cap to £9000. The main points made by the opponents of the government’s plans were (1) that they amounted to the abdication of the principle that universities are a public good as well as a private benefit; (2) that they were socially divisive; and (3) that the scheme will reduce the debt only in accounting terms and that the real debt will simply be passed onto the younger generation.

Here are some extracts from the debate: Continue reading

University funding reforms “may not save public money”

The Liberal Democrat Higher Education spokesperson in the Lords, Lady Sharp, has told the Guardian she is not certain to vote for the government in the vote in the Lords today. She is quoted as saying that the government’s proposals may not save any public money, which “makes me question whether the whole exercise is worthwhile”.

Continue reading

LSE warns Vince Cable of damage from axing teaching grant

Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics (LSE) and one of the UK’s best known financial service experts has released correspondence from the LSE to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) rejecting the Browne Review’s policy conclusions which the coalition government has adopted.

Continue reading

The government’s case is ‘weak’

William Cullerne Browne has published an open letter to the House of Lords today in which he argues that the principle elements of the government’s case are weakly formulated.

Continue reading

Universities can be engines of social mobility

By Professor Nicola Miller

How depressing to hear Peter Wilby argue that universities just “perpetuate privilege down the generations” (in discussion with Stefan Collini, The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, Saturday 11 December 2010).  This is to ignore all the efforts made in most universities over the past 15 years or so to widen participation.  It is true that these efforts have not been as successful as anyone would have wished, but that does not mean that they should just be abandoned in resigned acceptance of the status quo.  In any case, it is only in reference to the most prestigious institutions (Oxford, Cambridge, London and a few others) that the evidence supports the claim that  attempts to widen participation have not worked very well.  Across the sector, there are many universities that have been far more successful in attracting people who are the first in their family to go to university.  The evidence about widening participation is mixed:  what is clear is that  more work needs to be done in schools as well as in universities.   But no-one who believes in social justice should give up on the idea that universities can, and in the right circumstances do, offer opportunities for developing talent from all sectors of society.

Students will pay ‘more for a worse product’

While the government urges the public sector to ‘do more for less’, more public voices have been pointing out that the slashing of the teaching grant means that students will be paying more for less.

Continue reading