Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

22 JUN 2011

The Future of Higher Education

Important changes to student finance are taking place in 2012/13 which will have far-reaching consequences for prospective students, employers and Higher Education Institutions.  Here, we take a look at what's already been agreed and what is proposed by Dr Vince Cable and David Willetts.

The reforms proposed by this coalition Government in Higher Education are all about ensuring students get their money's worth. We're asking graduates to contribute more once they are earning so it is only right that universities deliver for students.

Universities will become more accountable to students and they will have to be far more transparent about what they are offering. For students, this will mean better information before they apply, better teaching at university, more feedback on their work and better preparation for the job market.

In May 2010, the Department for BIS launched a marketing campaign aimed at people considering higher education, as well as their parents, advisers and teachers.  This was built around the facts (not the myths) of the new system:

  • No up-front fees: Undergraduates will have access to Government loans to cover their tuition costs.  They will have to start paying back until they earn over £21,000 - so monthly repayments will be lower than now.
  • More support for living costs: Maintenance support, made up of grants and loans, will increase for the vast majority of full-time undergraduates.  The new National Scholarship Programme will offer further support to students from lower-income families.
  • An extension of tuition loans to part-time students: For the first time, part-time students will have access to tuition loans to cover the full costs of their tuition.

The campaign has appeared across Facebook, YouTube and Spotify and there is a website at www.direct.gov.uk/yourfuture which is regularly updated with new resources for use by universities, colleges and schools.  There are also a list of Frequently Asked Questions and two information flyers (one for full-time and one for part-time students) at www.bis.gov.uk/studentfinance.

Later in 2011, the key messages of this campaign will be going on the road directly into schools and colleges via a series of roadshows.  We will publish any local information in this regard on this page sp please check back.


What is the Government now proposing for Higher Education?

The Government's White Paper on Higher Education was published on 28 June 2011, entiteld Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System.  It is now out for public consultation.

The White Paper proposes reforms that put power in the hands of students to make higher education institutions more responsive to their demands and choices.

It sets out proposals in six major areas:

  • Sustainable and fair funding
  • Excellent academic experience
  • Better courses and more-qualified graduates
  • A diverse and responsive sector
  • Improve social mobility through fairer access
  • A new regulatory framework
  • 

More information ...

You can download the White Paper in full via the BIS website here.

The Government is also consulting (as of 28 June 2011) whether there should be a penalty imposed on students for early repayment of their tuition fees.  There isn't at the present time and Winchester MP Steve Brine has made clear he doesn't think there should be in the future, in the face of some opposition within the coalition.  If you would like to have your say in this regard, please visit the BIS website link here.

Pictured above; Prof Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester with Winchester MP Steve Brine.  Steve enjoys an excellent working relationship with the whole university team.

 

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