There is a recent trend for policymakers and politicians to look at Australia to find solutions to the policy problems facing UK HE. The most recent example is a report published yesterday by HEPI that outlines compares the Australian and UK HE systems. There are some interesting comparisons to be made between Australia and England, however seriously comparing the two systems is a difficult task. Although interesting, HEPI’s report does not tell the whole story of Australian higher education; elements of which may not be wholly desirable to bring back home.

Who’s afraid of student loans?

by Emran Mian April 24, 2014

A new study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) on student loan costs published today will kick off a new round of suggestions on what to do next for higher education funding. Emran Mian maintains that we should be much more sanguine about student loan costs and writes that we need to tackle some even bigger problems. This piece attempts to explain why.

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The parent protest

by Sue Littlemore April 22, 2014

Sue Littlemore looks at recent polling to assess public attitudes towards universities and finds some sobering results. In the context of higher fees, and pressures coming from other places, how the wider public feel about the value of HE and the debts that the next generation are getting in to really matter. Universities may have been protected from public opinion in the past, but as we head towards a general election, politicians are likely to be influenced by the largest of protest groups; parents.

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Reforming employability measures

by Rosa Fernandez April 15, 2014

It is widely understood that graduates with higher level skills are critical to the ability of the UK economy to innovate and thus be competitive internationally so it is vitally important that the way we measure how the supply of graduates meets the demand of employers is useful to both universities and businesses. Rosa Fernandez looks at recent research that shows why current measures of graduate employability are not sufficient, and shows how it could improve.

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Big update

by Mark Leach April 11, 2014

A few months ago we embarked on an ambitious project to substantially grow this site and its activities and I am pleased to report that things are progressing very well indeed. We want to be the sector’s daily destination for all commentary, debate and analysis about higher education and be an important platform for the new and previously unheard voices in the sector. Our big ambitions are backed up by a big strategy that we are now in the first phase of delivering and I wanted to report back today about our progress and announce the first of many partnerships, as well as a new Editorial Group.

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Damage beyond the RAB

by Gavan Conlon March 28, 2014

With a lot of public attention on the RAB charge and the cost of the current funding system, Dr Gavan Conlon of London Economics looks at two major issues that may have been overlooked and are areas where the greatest damage may have been done in the transition to the current fees and funding system – both because of the outcomes themselves – but also because the fact that the changes may be irreversible.

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RAB and the wizardry of student finance

by Andy Westwood March 25, 2014

The last week has seen a political and media frenzy as it has come clear that the RAB charge is now coming very close to the point where the new HE funding system costs around the same as when fees were just above £3k. With the wider public understandably not engaged in the wizardry of public accounting and a sector avoiding an opportunity for self-reflection, Andy Westwood attempts to unpick the dark arts at play, the rows that overlay them and attempts to drill just a little bit deeper.

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The changing role of PVC

by Sue Shepherd March 18, 2014

Things are changing for deputy and pro vice chancellors (PVCs) as is wider management and leadership in today’s increasingly complicated higher education sector. Sue Shepherd takes a look at these changing careers, who are occupying the posts and why it matters to universities and the sector at large.

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Apprenticeships or university – a false choice

by Andy Westwood March 7, 2014

As we mark the end of Apprenticeships Week, Andy Westwood looks at how politicians and the media talk about apprenticeships and the false choice they continually present between them and higher education. There are good reasons to expand higher level apprenticeships, but this needs to happen in a better way – in collaboration with universities and learning from examples abroad.

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