Government Response to Higher Education Reform Consultation - 11 June 2012
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills released the government’s response to the consultation on Higher Education Reforms on 11 June 2012. The response outlines the government’s plans to increase the number of institutions that can be classed as universities, confirms that tuition fee loans can be repaid early with no penalty and reiterates the commitment to work towards a permanent and affordable funding mechanism for medical and dental students.
The full report can be found on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ website.
Student Futures - 01 February 2012
Students are the future dentist workforce in training. To ensure that there is an appropriate supply of professionals, undergraduate study must be an attractive option and students must be sufficiently supported, enthused and engaged. We consider that student planning cannot be undertaken in isolation from wider workforce planning and tertiary education cannot be considered without ensuring that adequate education and careers advice is available during secondary education. It is essential for the future of good oral health that students really are at the heart of the education system.
The BDA has released Student Futures, a vision document which sets out the issues that need to be addressed if the nation is to have the high quality dentist workforce it deserves to treat and maintain its oral health.
The document is available to download below.
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report into Higher Education reforms – 10 November
The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee released their report into the government’s higher education reforms on 10 November 2011. The Committee was supportive of many of the proposals in the reforms but criticised the poor communication strategy. The Committee noted that poor communication has led to a great deal of mistrust in the reforms.
The full report from the Committee can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmbis/885/88502.htm
Confusion about reforms remains – 09 November
It is apparent that a lot of confusion remains around the reforms: UCAS data released on 24 October showed that applications for courses with a deadline on 15 October, including dentistry, were under-subscribed by 0.8 per cent. On November 09 The Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information published survey data collected Yougov which showed that:
- 59% of people in England feel they have little or no understanding of the new finance system for higher education
- (79%) of those who gave an answer wrongly think the amount 2012 starters will repay each month when they graduate will be the same or more than today's graduates
- Less than four in ten (37%) correctly know no-one needs to pay the university up-front
- 55% of people believe the new system makes higher education less attractive
The full story is available at http://www.studentfinance2012.com/news/article/confusion-reigns-as-fees-fear-takes-hold
Higher Education Reforms
In June this year the government launched its full proposals for higher education reform. The reforms to higher education will affect students entering their course in 2012, they will not have an impact on existing students.
The White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System (available to download below), outlined the government’s proposals for new responsibilities for universities. The consultation period has closed and we await the government’s analysis of the comments it has received.
The proposals to increase fees from £3,375 to a minimum of £6,000 and maximum of £9,000 were included in the Browne Review of Higher Education. This review began to collect evidence in 2009 and reported in late 2010. A copy of the review with its recommendations can be found below.
Aside from the increase in tuition fees the reforms to higher education in England involve increasing the amount of information available to prospective students about the universities and their courses, increasing advice to prospective students about courses and careers, extending tuition fee loans to those on part-time courses and making universities’ responsibilities to widen participation clear.
The changes are intended to achieve two aims:
- Increase the level of competition in higher education to ensure that universities offer the best courses and value for money to more informed “customers”
- To put students in control by making them direct funding to universities, rather than allowing universities to rely on centrally determined funding that may not be responsive to student movements or wishes
The source of the money is changing. Instead of relying on centralised funding grants provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) this money will be loaned to students to make them direct purchasers of education. Some courses, including clinical subjects like dentistry, will continue to receive funding from HEFCE because the cost of delivering the course is greater than the top fee level. The number of places available to study dentistry will also continue to be limited.
To try to increase awareness of what the reforms involve the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills established the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information in June 2011. It is headed by Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com and deputised by Wes Streeting, NUS President 2008-10. The Taskforce is an independent body designed to provide clear information about what the reforms mean in practice. Details and answers to many questions about the new system can be found on their website: http://www.studentfinance2012.com/index