Press release

million+ responds to HEFCE report that reveals dramatic changes in higher education

10 Apr 2014

The university think-tank million+ have expressed concerns about the findings of a report published today by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) ‘Higher education in England 2014’. The report analyses key developments in the sector over the past year and reveals dramatic changes in English higher education affecting students, courses and universities.

Despite the welcome recovery in application numbers this year, the think-tank highlights that these are still not back to the same level as 2010 and emphasises the need for Ministers to address the significant drops in part-time and postgraduate study.

Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University and chair of university think-tank million+ said:

"We are deeply concerned about the drop in part-time numbers, which have nearly halved since the increase in fees, with the impact of this felt most acutely with people over the age of 21. The decline in postgraduate full-time study is equally worrying as this is what is needed to ensure that employers have people with the right high level skills to help businesses grow."

"This has clearly been a period of huge instability for higher education and the effects on students and universities can be seen from these figures. Any future changes to higher education have to be done in a way that creates better long-term stability and certainty for students and institutions."

"Modern universities have been at the forefront of widening participation but we need to continue work to narrow the gap in participation between advantaged and disadvantaged students. The government needs to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate in higher education by investing in flexible routes to university."


Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Victoria Robinson, Press and Communications Officer, million+ on 020 7717 1658 / 07527 336 795 or email
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at
3. The publication ‘Higher Education in England 2014: Analysis of latest shifts and trends’ (HEFCE 2014/08) will be available on the HEFCE website, as well as a summary report ‘Higher Education in England 2014: Key facts’ (HEFCE 2014/08b).