Last week it blew a gale and rained a lot in Manchester. But on the upper floors of the Hilton hotel it wasn’t the weather that was getting people excited: it was the collective reaction of some 200 business school leaders to the just published Government Green Paper on the future of the higher education sector and the proposals for a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in particular.
Austerity is front of student minds according to 2015 research
Higher education has been in the headlines almost continuously for the last three years: higher tuition fees, and the increasing level of student debt that has accompanied them, have attracted much speculation about their impact. Concerns too that there would be a significant fall in university applications – notably from those with lower household incomes – have as yet not been realised, but with the perceived ‘value for money’ debate still raging, it is worth keeping a close eye on this.
It’s a big day for the 154 UK higher education institutions that have been awaiting today’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) results.
These results will have a significant impact on higher education institutions, as they will be used to allocate research funding from 2015-16. This is the first year that REF has been used, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) that was last conducted in 2008.
The eagerly awaited Economist full-time MBA rankings were published last Friday, providing detail on the composition and quality of student cohorts, faculty and programmes at the world’s leading business schools.
With the considerably higher costs and growing importance of securing a good grade, it is no surprise students are demanding better value for money from their degree. It is also no surprise that student expectations have increased as the amount of money they have to pay has.
What are students’ top three priorities for HE expenditure?
48% reducing fee levels
35% more teaching hours
35% reducing size of teaching groups
(Poll by Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA))
Is this really the time to be discussing the possibility of even higher university tuition fees? BBC’s Newsnight on Monday evening opened an interesting can of educational worms.
One reason why the government has capped university tuition fees at £9,000 a year in England is to protect the Treasury; to paraphrase a close friend of mine, who runs an online loan program, higher fees mean bigger loans and so more losses. If universities were to share some risk, the Treasury might allow them to charge more.
There’s no doubt in our minds that mobile technologies will continue to have a massive impact on how students learn. The clever bit is how they blend with face-to-face learning opportunities to enhance the whole learning experience.
The Guardian University Guide 2015 was published this week – arguably the most valuable league table of the UK’s universities
– and as usual there have been plenty of column inches and airtime minutes devoted to whether or not our students are getting value for money from their £9,000 a year education.