15 May 2013

million+ comments on the HEPI and Which? report on the academic experience of students at English universities 2013

The report is the fifth iteration of a survey that HEPI has conducted of the academic experience of students at English universities. This present survey has been carried out jointly with Which?. Commenting on the report Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of the university think tank million+ said:

“The rationale for surveying students in their first year is highly questionable and the finding take no account of the outcomes of the changing funding regimes to which universities have been subject to in the last seven years.

When tuition fees were increased to £3,000 they were backed by state loans but the primary aim was to provide additional resources to universities. At the same time the Government supported a national Aim Higher access and outreach programme, restored maintenance grants to students and provided institutions with additional funding to help with the costs of teaching part-time students. However, after the 2008 financial crisis there were some cuts to teaching funding which universities were required to manage.

Fast forward to 2012 when fees were tripled (albeit also backed by a state loan) to cover a huge cut in university funding. The part-time institutional premium has also been abolished and universities are now required to use fee income to support a wide range of outreach programmes previously funded by Government. In fact the survey confirms that students at modern universities are more likely to study in smaller groups and be taught by academics.

There is no room for complacency but the fact remains that universities have done remarkably well to hold their own bearing in mind the funding roller coaster to which they and students have ben subject in recent years.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:
1. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk.
2. For an interview with Pam Tatlow please contact Paul Drake, Head of Public Affairs at pauldrake@millionplus.ac.uk or m: 07900277819.