Select Committee on Innovation, Universities and Skills Written Evidence

Memorandum 90

Submission from Anglia Ruskin University

  It is the belief of our University that this policy is misguided and hurredly thought through. It goes against the grain of widening access, lifelong learning and upskilling the nation. As a University we are mainly concerned about: the differential impact on certain groups of students, including female students; that many of our part time courses, including Professional training courses, will be non viable in the future and the methodology applied by HEFCE to the classification of "known" or "unknown" qualifications on entry

  Anglia Ruskin University is one of the most adversely affected HEI's (top 15) by these proposals, and as a University we are projected to lose £2.2 million from our teaching grant as a result of ELQ by 2011-12. From ELQ funding alone the loss will be £2.9 million but the part time targeted allocation received will reduce this loss to £2.2 million.

  Some of the major concerns of our University are as follows:


  HNC/D's are treated in a different manner to Foundation degrees in the consultation and are not exempted. However, HNC/D's remain a popular vocational qualification and have currency with employers who understand their purpose and remain committed to supporting employees through their studies of HNC/D's. The HNC/D framework still plays a major part in meeting the governments' skills agenda and so should be considered for exemption alongside the Foundation degree framework.


  The key determinant of whether a student should be considered an ELQ or not is based on the equivalence of level of their previous qualifications, however in practice it is very complex to establish how partial completion of previous qualifications should be considered.

  Additionally, for students who have a higher professional qualification such as CIMA (potentially achieved through a private provider with no HEFCE funding) and wish to undertake a HND or undergraduate degree in a further vocational area, such as Business Studies, with some prior credit, (at a HEFCE funded HEI) would potentially be classified as an ELQ student and denied their first opportunity to obtain HEFCE funding.

  A further issue with HE Professional qualifications is the large range and their lack of categorisation. It is likely that where the discipline of study in which the student has previously achieved their Professional qualification is not linked to a further qualification it will be very "hit and miss" whether this Professional Qualification is correctly categorised. For example, where some professional qualifications encompass level 2/3 awards (A level equivalent) and Level 4 (HE level equivalent), it would be difficult for admissions staff to be expected to check a non-related qualification and determine whether the student should be classified as ELQ or not.


  2005-6 student data is to be used to determine the targeted allocations for SIVS and HEFCE make clear that this will be limited to maintaining the numbers in 2005-6 and not incentivising future growth. By taking one year's students numbers only there is a risk of distortion of allocations that do not reflect new priorities and opportunities in 2008-9 to 2010-11.

  Additionally, our University offers a range of highly regarded courses in Optometry, Quantity Surveying, and Theology, all of which are necessary to re-train and upskill students to sustain the supply of Professionals in these subject areas.


  It is the claimed intention of HEFCE and DIUS to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on HEI's. However, as described above, implementation of the ELQ consultation will result in a significant increase in the checking and verification of prior qualifications; determination of their equivalent level; the interpretation of funding rules and communication to students of this implication of these rules on tuition fees, as well as the risk of perversity and contradictory nature of different policies.

  The combined impact of all these aspects should surely result in a major increase in administrative and bureaucratic burdens on a HEI. As an institution we do not consider that the costs of implementing the policy will be proportionate to the intended advantages that are to be gained from it.

  For all of these reasons, we also believe that this policy, if implemented will have unintended consequences for widening participation and the economic wellbeing of England and Wales.

January 2008

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