Students and Universities - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Contents


Higher education in England

1. The student experience of university,[1] like the sector itself, varies widely. There are 90 universities in England, and this figure increases to 133 if other higher education institutions are included.[2] All are autonomous institutions and undertake research and teaching, although the "mission focus" and balance of activities varies. Some institutions concentrate primarily on teaching while others are more research intensive. In addition, 286 of the 387 general and specialist further education colleges in England received direct or indirect funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in 2006 -07.[3]

2. The 1963 Robbins Report on Higher Education noted that higher education had not been planned as a whole and considered that what system of higher education there was in the UK "has come about as the result of a series of initiatives, concerned with particular needs and particular situations".[4] Since the 1960s the initiatives have continued. The latest wave of expansion started in 1992 when the former polytechnics and colleges of higher education became universities. Since 1997 expansion has continued with student numbers in England rising from 1.5 million in 1997 to 1.9 million in 2007[5] (and see table at paragraph 3). In 1998 the Government introduced tuition fees and a significant change occurred in 2006 when the Government allowed tuition fees to vary between higher education institutions. The result of these waves of change is that universities in England share a number of the characteristics of some English cities where there has never been an overall plan and development has been piecemeal: there is a medieval centre and, starting in the Victorian era, phases of development and expansion. Yet the public perception of the town focuses on its traditional centre or, in the case of universities, on Oxford and Cambridge as the exemplar.

3. We noticed that issues faced by both the Robbins Committee and the subsequent major inquiry into higher education chaired by Sir Ron Dearing[6] in 1997 still remain current: funding, though now made more complex with tuition fees and state supported student loans; balancing historic autonomy and freedom with accountability in the use of public funds; meeting national needs for skills; and improving academic professionalism. But some things have changed: universities are having to secure an increasing proportion of their income through their own entrepreneurial activities; more students are studying part-time (see table below) and increasing numbers are returning, or entering university, as mature students; there is now a perception that students are making increasing demands as "customers"; universities are competing for students, especially international students; and—in the short term—the economy is in serious recession. At the heart of higher education is the student and this is the perspective we have chosen for this Report.

Table 1: All students on higher education courses at higher education institutions, by level and mode[7]

4. When we started our inquiry in 2008 the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) was the government department with responsibility for higher education. In June 2009 DIUS merged with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to become the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which now has responsibility for higher education.

5. In 2009-10 BIS will be responsible for total departmental spending of £15 billion[8] on higher education, about half of which will be spent via HEFCE. Across the UK, the higher education sector operates on an annual turnover of over £17 billion and employs 340,000 people.[9] According to Universities UK, economists have estimated that (both directly and indirectly) UK higher education institutions stimulated activity in 2003-04 that was worth £42 billion to the economy, plus over £3.6 billion in export earnings.[10] Institutions' sources of income have broadened almost across the board with core government funding providing less than half the total,[11] and record numbers of undergraduate students are applying to enter higher education institutions every year—344,000 applicants from England were accepted for entry in 2008.[12]

Machinery of Government changes: June 2007

6. When, in June 2007, the Government created DIUS, it took a radical step by removing higher education from the former Department for Education and Skills to have post-19 year-old education in DIUS and pre-19 education in a separate department, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). The reorganisation in June 2009 has perpetuated the separation with higher education joining further education, innovation, skills, science, business and regulatory reform in BIS. In configuring universities with innovation and skills the Government had a clear objective. The then Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Rt Hon John Denham MP, explained on taking up the post in June 2007 that bringing "together these key elements [skills, scientific research and innovation] will help Britain stay at the forefront of the global economy in an increasingly competitive world". He explained that the "mission" of DIUS was "to ensure every person in this country has the opportunity to reach their full potential and highest ambitions".[13] The Government has a target arising from its acceptance of the recommendations of the Leitch Review of Skills:[14] of 40% of all adults in England gaining a university qualification by 2020[15] (see paragraph 142 and following).

Framework for higher education

7. In a speech on 29 February 2008, John Denham announced his intention to develop a framework for higher education over the next ten to fifteen years. He explained:

    The world is evolving very quickly and we must be able to unlock British talent and support economic growth through innovation as never before.

    We need to decide what a world-class [higher education] system of the future should look like, what it should seek to achieve, and establish the current barriers to its development.[…] I want to do this before we initiate the review of undergraduate fees next year.

    As part of this process I am inviting a number of individuals and organisations to make contributions. Not to write government policy but to help inform it and—equally important—to stimulate debate and discussion in the sector.[16]

When he gave evidence to our inquiry on the DIUS Departmental Report on 29 October 2008 Mr Denham told us:

    the big question […] is: how do we ensure that our university system is world-class in 15 years' time? I believe it to be world-class today and for the whole university provision we want to be that good in 15 years' time. As part of that process, we looked at areas first where policy had not been looked at recently and we invited people from within the university sector, mainly vice chancellors, to produce think pieces, provocative pieces about international higher education, about the quality of the student experience.[17]

In all, 17 pieces of work were produced and have now been published.[18]

8. When during this inquiry Mr Denham gave evidence on 11 May 2009 we asked him when he would announce his conclusions. He said that the current plan was to "produce the forward looking [higher education] framework in the summer" and then after that he would be launching the independent review of fees and of funding.[19] He explained that:

    the basic idea was that the framework should set out the forward looking broad vision for higher education so that this time, when people come to look at funding issues, there is hopefully some sense of what it is we are trying to fund rather than trying to deal with the question of funding in the abstract without debating what sorts of universities, what their role is going to be, how they are going to develop in the future.[20]

9. Mr Denham added that once the debate on fees was initiated "nothing else will ever be discussed".[21] We welcome the Secretary of State's approach and agree that the debate about fees needs to be put into the wider context, both of the purpose and structure of higher education in England, but also from the perspective of the student. We see our inquiry and report as contributing to this wider debate. We support the approach of the former Secretary of State, John Denham, in examining the function and structure of higher education ahead of reaching decisions on funding. We regret, however, that the Government did not initiate and complete the examination of the function and structure of higher education in time to allow the review of fees to be completed in 2009 and therefore ensure the matter is fully aired in the run up to the next General Election.

10. DIUS's final Departmental Report, published by BIS after the merger of the departments confirmed that the debate initiated by Mr Denham will result in "the publication of a new [higher education] framework for England setting out a vision for higher education over the next 10 to 15 years" and that this "framework will also set the context for the review of university fees which will begin later in 2009".[22] We recommend that in responding to this Report the Government set out a detailed timetable for publishing the higher education framework.

Future scrutiny of higher education

11. Towards the end of our inquiry, as we have noted, the Prime Minister reorganised Whitehall and moved DIUS in its entirety into a new department, BIS. This means that, following changes to its Standing Orders agreed by the House of Commons on 25 June 2009,[23] our Committee will cease to scrutinise higher education from 1 October 2009. More importantly, it raises questions over the future of higher education policy, an issue which we take forward in the conclusions to this Report and to which we trust our successor committee with responsibility for scrutinising higher education will return to in due course. As we have drafted our Report we have identified a number of areas that our successor committee may wish to review. For ease of reference we have listed these areas in Annex 2 to this Report. There are, however, two matters we should raise here. First there are two matters that fall outside the scope of our inquiry. Two areas our successor committee might find rewarding to examine are: international students and postgraduate students, including those studying for masters degrees and also including the terms under which universities require postgraduate students to teach undergraduates. We have deliberately kept our focus on the undergraduate.


12. Second, towards the end of our inquiry a potential problem emerged because of the demand for places in higher education in 2009. When he appeared before us on 29 October 2008 Mr Denham announced that the Government's plans for the expansion of the number of student places would be reduced from 15,000 to 10,000 places for 2009.[24] The reduction raised for us a question about the achievement of the Leitch target,[25] though, when he gave evidence to us in May 2009, Mr Denham explained that the Government had "worked very hard to enable a further expansion of student numbers for 2010-11 to maintain [the] trajectory".[26] He added:

    We have put […] funding in and we have confirmed an additional 10,000 [places] for 2010-11 […] The balance that I have to strike is […] between the funding that we put in and not allowing so much unplanned expansion that the funding gets spread too thinly.[27]

13. In a memorandum in June 2009 UCAS[28] told us that:

    The number of applicants for 2009 entry in the main undergraduate scheme operated by UCAS, ie that for full-time, undergraduate students, stood at [522,550 for England] on 8 June compared with [477,324] at the same point for the 2008 entry cycle. This represents an increase of […] 9.5% [for England]. This constitutes a significant increase in applications, and growth which is very much higher than the year on year trends evidenced over the last ten years. […] HEFCE has informed us that, in practice, for 2009 additional student numbers in respect of full-time, under-graduate, programmes translate into the number of last year's intake (around 419,000), plus an additional 3,000 places (ie an increase of less than 1% compared to the intake for 2008 entry). These figures suggest that there will be a projected reduction in places available during Clearing for 2009 entry (<18,000 places compared with c44,000 last year) of >25,000.

    [UCAS's projections suggest] a rather more uncertain situation for Confirmation and Clearing 2009 in comparison with recent years. There are likely to be disappointed applicants who are unable to find a place in Clearing.[29]

14. UCAS's concerns indicated that demand for places in higher education institutions might significantly exceed supply and we therefore raised this matter with HEFCE and the current Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills, the Rt Hon the Lord Mandelson. The Chief Executive of HEFCE, Sir Alan Langlands, replied on 24 June 2009 explaining that of the allocation of Additional Student Numbers (ASNs) for 2009-10:

    4,805 were full time and 5,148 part time. The full time figure of 4,805 includes an estimate of 3,000 additional first year entrants. The balance will accommodate second or subsequent cohorts to new or expanded courses that we have supported in earlier years. For example, if an institution is supported to develop a new three-year degree course, we would expect an increase in new entrants in the first year. If entrant levels are to be maintained, the institution is likely to need additional places in years two and three to support subsequent cohorts until student numbers across all three years of study reach a steady state.[30]

This is not clear. We recommend that in responding to this Report the Government provide a detailed breakdown of the 4,805 full-time places (Additional Student Numbers) announced in October 2008, in particular how 1,800 ASNs were required for year two and three students.

15. On the day that we formally agreed this Report the Chairman received a letter from the Secretary of State[31] and the Government made a Written Ministerial Statement about the future funding of student support. The Statement announced that:

    an extra 10,000 higher education places will be made available to universities this year to support more students in going to higher education this year.

    The Government will pay the student support costs for extra places in courses related to the new industry, new jobs agenda such as science, technology, engineering and maths—areas which will equip young people with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

    The package will fund the financial support for these students, which includes, for full-time students the fee loans to cover the cost of the tuition fees charged by institutions.

    Institutions wishing to take additional students will be able to charge students on full-time courses in England up to £3,225 in tuition fees in 2009-10, the same as for other students. A tuition fee loan is available to eligible students to cover the full cost of the fee.

    No additional teaching grant from HEFCE will accompany these additional students. It is for universities to manage their own admissions and we are confident that many will want to offer high quality places to students on this basis.[32]

16. The letter added:

    The students we have announced funding for today are fees only they do not attract teaching grant and of course it will be entirely a matter for universities to judge whether they want to offer places to students on a fees-only basis: not all will choose to do so. But we know from discussions with the sector that there are institutions who will be able to recruit such students without compromising the quality of their offer.[33]

17. We have three specific points. First, the manner in which Mr Denham presented the original 10,000 "additional places" in October 2008 was less than clear. The reasonable construction that an observer would put on his statement was that there would be 10,000 places for new entrants to university, whereas the new places announced at that time boil down to 3,000 extra places for full-time new entrants. We recommend that in making future statements about the provision of additional places in higher education the Government provide a breakdown between full-time and part-time places and state clearly how many of the additional places will be available for new entrant, first-year undergraduates.

18. Second, as the recession reduces employment prospects and those who have been made redundant seek to enter higher education, in order to learn new skills, demand for higher education places appears to be rising. We did not have the opportunity to take evidence on the Government's Written Ministerial Statement made in July 2009. While we welcome a potential increase in student numbers, these measures do not appear to meet all our concerns and have the potential to set an unfortunate precedent in that no additional teaching grant is being made available, particularly for science subjects where the costs are higher. Moreover, in our view, the pressure caused by the strong increase in demand for places in higher education in 2009 may still require the attention of our successor committee later in the year, after this year's A-level results are published, and we therefore flag this up as an issue for our successor committee.

19. Third, in our view the policy which the Government set out in Science and innovation investment framework 2004-2014: next steps—that making progress on the supply of high-quality STEM[34] graduates is essential "if the Government's overall ambitions for UK science and innovation are to be realised"[35]—holds good. We therefore welcome that part of the Written Ministerial Statement which states that the "Government will pay the student support costs for extra places in courses" related to the agenda set out in the policy statement "Building Britain's Future—New Industry, New Jobs" (20 April 2009) such as science, technology, engineering and maths. We agree that new places in higher education should meet the strategic needs of the country for STEM graduates, subject to our concerns in the previous paragraph.

20. The provision and education of STEM graduates raises wider issues beyond the funding of places in universities which include the teaching of STEM subjects in school and careers advice through to the autonomy of higher education institutions in respect of the extent to which the Government can and should manage or direct the supply of courses across the higher education sector essential to deliver the Leitch target.[36] We highlight the provision and education of STEM graduates as an issue for our successor committee, and also it may be an issue that we examine as part of our revised remit of scrutinising science and technology across government.

The evidence

21. We issued a call for evidence on 30 October 2008 for our inquiry into students and universities and suggested that submissions address a range of issues: admissions, the balance between teaching and research, degree completion and classification and mechanisms of student support and engagement.[37] We received 121 written submissions, which we accepted as evidence to the inquiry. We are grateful to all those who submitted written evidence.

22. While we received ample and informative written evidence from universities, academics, and other interested parties, including the National Union of Students (NUS)[38] and two student bodies,[39] we did not receive many submissions from individual students. Recognising that the usual methods which select committees employ to invite and collect evidence might not reach, or be attractive to, students, we therefore took a number of additional steps to gain their views and feedback.

  • We carried out an e-consultation targeted at undergraduates.[40]
  • We contacted a number of students directly through their representative bodies to invite them to give oral evidence at the beginning of February.
  • We asked those students who appeared before the Committee in February to review the evidence and we invited them back to give further oral evidence in April. See paragraph 27 below for details.
  • When we visited universities in Liverpool and Oxford, as well as taking oral evidence on the record from students, we met groups for informal discussions. In addition, the Chairman made a visit as a rapporteur to Imperial College London to meet students and staff.

23. We are grateful to all those who gave oral evidence (part of which was taken by a dedicated Sub-Committee) during this inquiry. We were particularly pleased to visit, and take evidence at, Liverpool Hope University and Oxford Brookes University and to visit the University of Oxford. We thank those who arranged and participated in these informative and valuable visits. Transcripts of the oral evidence sessions are published alongside this Report, together with written evidence submitted to the inquiry. In drafting this Report, we also benefited from the notes of the informal meetings with students at Liverpool Hope University,[41] the University of Oxford[42] and Imperial College London[43], which we have published.

24. We also visited Washington DC, where we met Federal officials with responsibilities for higher education, the American Council on Education, staff at the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, staff and students at Georgetown University, staff at the University of California Washington DC Office, the Center for International Science and Technology Policy, George Washington University, and the North Virginia Community College. In addition, one of our members, Mr Gordon Marsden MP, visited and met staff and students at Howard University in Washington DC.

25. We found it useful to be able to see at first hand, and talk to, students and staff at universities in the USA, which has a higher education system with many similarities to that in England and faces many of the same issues. All of the students we met at Georgetown University in the USA had studied in the UK and many of the staff at the higher education institutions we visited had also studied or taught in the UK and so were able to compare the higher education systems in both countries. We are conscious, however, that there are differences—for example, as Professor Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, pointed out, the unit of resource per student for an American student is approximately double that available in the United Kingdom[44]—so care has to be taken in drawing comparisons.

26. Our special advisers for this inquiry were Professor Ronald Barnett, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, Institute of Education, University of London, Bahram Bekhradnia, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), and Professor Sue Law, Head of Research, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, Coventry University. We are very grateful for their assistance.

27. We held nine oral evidence sessions, seven at Westminster and two at the universities we have mentioned. We took evidence from 70 witnesses, of whom 29 were students. As already noted, as an innovation, in order to ensure we obtained a full perspective from the students, we asked those students who gave oral evidence on 9 February at the beginning of inquiry if they would later be prepared to read the evidence and come back for a follow-up session. We were pleased that five students—Ricky Chotai, Lucy Davidson, Carrie Donaghy, Gemma Jerome and Anand Raja—were able to either return to give evidence as a panel, on 29 April, or provide written submissions.[45] We thank them for their assistance and comments.

28. In addition to students and their representative bodies—the National Union of Students, the Birkbeck College Students' Union and the Open University Students Association—we took oral evidence from:

    a)  organisations representing higher education institutions: Universities UK[46] and GuildHE[47] as well as the 157 Group,[48] the 1994 Group,[49] Million+,[50] the Russell Group[51] and the University Alliance;[52]

    b)  several current and former Vice-Chancellors: Professor Michael Arthur, Leeds, Professor Janet Beer, Oxford Brookes, Professor Michael Brown, Liverpool John Moores, Professor Roger Brown, Southampton Solent, Professor Michael Driscoll, Middlesex, Dr John Hood, Oxford, Professor Gerald Pillay, Liverpool Hope and Professor Jon Saunders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Liverpool;

    c)  the University and College Union (UCU), which represents academics and other staff in higher education institutions;

    d)  organisations and academics studying or developing the higher education sector: ASKe (Assessment Standards Knowledge Exchange), the Heads of Education and Development Group (HEDG), the Higher Education Academy (HEA), the Higher Education Achievement Report Implementation Group, the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA), the Student Assessment and Classification Working Group (SACWG) and Professor Geoffrey Alderman, Professor Roger Goodman, Professor Bernard Longden, Professor Lin Norton, Professor Alan Ryan and Professor Mantz Yorke;

    e)  the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA);

    f)  UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service);

    g)  organisations representing employers: the CBI, the Engineering Council UK (ECUK), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and SEMTA;[53] and

    h)  Rt Hon John Denham MP, then Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE.

29. Our aim has been to invite and seek evidence across the higher education sector and we hope that we achieved this objective. We found this at times a delicate process and were surprised at the vigilance shown by some of the organisations representing groups of institutions within Universities UK in their endeavour to ensure that their higher education institutions were fully represented and the organisation's status was fully recognised. We found it wearying continually to have to ensure that we balanced representatives from the organisations representing groups of institutions within Universities UK. At times we wondered whether this rivalry might be an indication of lack of cohesion within the sector.

This Report

30. The structure of this Report follows the path taken through higher education from the point of view of an undergraduate student. It starts with entry and admission to higher education, examines the quality of teaching and the student's experience at university and concludes with graduation—examining degree standards.

31. As well as the issues we have highlighted in this chapter,[54] we have also taken the opportunity to flag up issues for possible consideration by our successor committee with responsibility for scrutinising higher education and further education. We have listed these issues at Annex 2.

Responding to our Report

32. Our Report as is customary contains recommendations directed to government and a number of conclusions. It is usual practice for the Government to respond to our recommendations and conclusions within two months and we expect that it will do so. We are conscious that some of our conclusions may be for consideration by the higher education sector, including students and their representative organisations, and further education colleges providing higher education, rather than the Government and we invite those to whom these conclusions are directed or relevant to respond by publishing their responses on the Internet.

1   We have used the terms "university" and "higher education institution" interchangeably throughout this report. Other than where explicitly stated, neither term includes higher education provided in further education colleges. Back

2   As at August 2008 according to Universities UK. Federal institutions such as the University of London are counted as one university. This list excludes foreign higher education institutions operating in the UK. The Open University operates in all the countries of the UK; its headquarters is based in England. There are also a significant number of further education colleges at which higher education students study; they are not included in the 133. Back

3   "Supporting higher education in further education colleges Policy, practice and prospects", HEFCE 2009/5, p 8

Higher education is provided in further education colleges in three broad ways:

Prescribed courses of higher education directly funded by HEFCE. The types of courses are set out in legislation and students must be signed up for the whole course, not just a module.

Indirectly via a higher education institution-where students are registered with the higher education institution, but some or all of the teaching is carried out at a further education college through a sub-contracting or franchise arrangement. As the HEFCE block grant goes to the higher education institution there is more flexibility over what can be done with the money and hence higher education modules carried out in further education colleges can be funded this way.

Non-HEFCE funded or non-prescribed higher education-Level 4 courses undertaken at a further education college funded either by the Learning and Skills Council or through fees paid by the student or their employer.

In 2008-09 there were 46,930 FTE students who were on (directly) HEFCE-funded courses in further education colleges in England; 4.0% of the total (Notification of grants to institutions, 2008-09 Student numbers from HESES and HEIFES, HEFCE, March 2009). Back

4   Committee on Higher Education, Higher Education, Report of the Committee appointed by the Prime Minister under the Chairmanship of Lord Robbins 1961-63 (the "Robbins Report"), October 1963, Cmnd. 2154, para 18 Back

5   Ev 438 (Universities UK), para 13 Back

6   National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, Report of the National Committee, (the "Dearing Report"), July 1997 Back

7   "Students and Qualifiers Data Tables", HESA,  Back

8   DIUS, Departmental Report 2009, Cm 7596, July 2009, p 61 Back

9   Universities UK, The Economic Impact of Higher Education Institutions, May 2006, pp 19 and 16; the figures relate to 2003-04. Back

10   Universities UK, The Economic Impact of Higher Education Institutions, May 2006, p 30  Back

11   DIUS, Investing in our Future: Departmental Report 2008, Cm 7392, May 2008, p 68 Back

12   "Final figures for 2008 entry-10.4% rise in accepted applicants" UCAS press release, 15 January 2009 Back

13   "New Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills to push Britain forward", DIUS Press Release, 28 June 2007 Back

14   HM Treasury, Leitch review of skills: Prosperity for all in the global economy-world class skills, Final Report, 2006  Back

15   DIUS, World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England, Cm 7181, July 2007, p 9; DIUS, Investing in our Future: Departmental Report 2008, Cm 7392, May 2008, p 68 Back

16   "Higher Education", Speech delivered by Rt Hon John Denham, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, 29 February 2008, at  Back

17   Third Report of Session 2008-09, DIUS's Departmental Report 2008 , HC 51-ii, Q 149  Back

18   The commissioned contributions covered:

A series of reports were also commissioned from users of higher education, employers in a variety of sectors:

  • Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre
  • Tom Russell, head of the London Development Authority's Olympic Legacy Directorate
  • Sir John Chisholm, Chair of QinetiQ and the Medical Research Council
  • Professor Ann Close, National Clinical Advisor to the Healthcare commission
  • Marjorie Scardino, Chief Executive of Pearson
  • John Griffith Jones, Joint Chairman of KPMG.

In addition, The National Student Forum provided an informal response to the first stage of the debate on the future of higher education.

See BIS website,  Back

19   Q 496 Back

20   As above Back

21   Q 500 Back

22   BIS, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills: Departmental Report 2009, Cm 7596, July 2009, para 2.9 Back

23   Votes and Proceedings, 25 June 2009, p 686 Back

24   HC Deb, 29 October 2008, col 33WS; see also Third Report of Session 2008-09, DIUS's Departmental Report 2008 , HC 51-ii, Qq 142, and 169. Back

25   See para 6. Back

26   Q 509 Back

27   Q 511 Back

28   Universities and Colleges Admissions Service Back

29   Ev 534-35 Back

30   Ev 534 Back

31   Ev 536 Back

32   HC Deb, 20 July 2009, col 87WS Back

33   Ev 537 Back

34   Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Back

35   HM Treasury, Department of Trade and Industry, Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health, Science and innovation investment framework 2004-2014: next steps, March 2006, para 1.6 Back

36   See para 6. Back

37   "Students and Universities", Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee Press Notice No. 82 (07-08), 30 October 2008 Back

38   Ev 261 Back

39   Ev 217 (Birkbeck Students' Union), and 269 (Open University Students Association) Back

40   A note summarising points from the consultation is at Ev 166. The consultation ran for six weeks from 23 February and closed on 7 April 2009. The forum asked for views on six topics and each received the following number of replies (or posts).
Why did you decide to apply to university?
Do you think that the admissions process for universities is fair?
What factors influenced your choice of university and course?
Has university lived up to your expectations?
What do you think of the quality of teaching at university?
Are all degrees the same?


41   Ev 160 Back

42   Ev 161 Back

43   Ev 158 Back

44   Q 425 Back

45   Ev 520, Ev 521 Back

46   Universities UK represents the executive heads (Vice-Chancellors or Principals) of UK universities and colleges of higher education. It currently has 133 members. Back

47   GuildHE is one of the two formal representative bodies for Higher Education in the UK, the other is Universities UK.  Back

48   The 157 Group represents twenty six of the largest further education colleges in England. Back

49   Established in 1994, the 1994 Group brings together 18 research-intensive universities in the UK. Back

50   Million+, originally known as the Coalition of Modern Universities, is a university think-tank with 28 subscribing universities in the UK, which were established as universities after 1992. Back

51   The Russell Group is an association of 20 major research-intensive universities in the UK. Formed in 1994 at a meeting convened in Russell Square, the Group is composed of the Vice-Chancellors and Principals. Back

52   The University Alliance is a group of 24 universities including pre- and post-1992 institutions who are not members of the 1994 or Russell Groups or Million+. Back

53   Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies Back

54   At paras 11 to 20 Back

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