To begin, we are pleased to share that Francesco Masala, our previous SU President, will be taking up the role of a House of Commons Library Clerk – many congratulations from UoB and we will be looking forward to reading the library research papers that he writes!
The Complete University Guide 2023 was published online on Tuesday with Bath ranked 8th overall, up two places compared to last year and the highest ranked university in the South West. A more detailed analysis and commentary will be provided to UEB by the Dept of Policy, Planning & Compliance in due course.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) launched a new student charter, co-developed with students, to provide guidance to universities on delivering an excellent experience for international students. The #WeAreInternational student charter outlines five principles including creating a welcoming and equitable environment, valuing international input for institutional policy, and making sustainability central to internationalisation, which are designed to assist universities in achieving the goal.
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has criticised the OfS for not making “sufficient progress in getting a grip” on the long-term problems facing the sector, and the DfE for failing to hold OfS properly to account. The PAC highlights pressures on long-term financial viability caused by an increase in the proportion of institutions with in-year deficits from 5 percent in 2015-16 to 32 percent in 2019-20 and raises continuing concerns about the sector’s reliance on income from overseas students. The PAC’s criticism also includes falling student satisfaction, particularly in relation to value for money, and for DfE for failing to predict the ongoing impact of pandemic-related disruption to A-levels. OfS was asked to write to the PAC by the end of July explaining how it will increase its understanding of the sector and its issues and says it should work with DfE to create a series of robust performance measures of universities.
Across the UK student loan debt has now reached £200 billion, according to new data published by the Student Loans Company (SLC). The data, which covers student debt in the UK in the 2022 financial year, indicates that current interest rates mean that the debt is rising in all nations faster than it is being paid off.
USS pension members could face cuts of up to 45 percent if Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation averages three percent, according to new research published by academics at Cornell University. The research – which is the first global analysis exploring the impact of the April 2022 cuts – analyses the impact on pension loss if CPI is at 2.5, 2.8, or 3 percent using data from USS and UUK.
The Commons Science and Technology committee published written evidence from Athene Donald, Master of Churchill College Cambridge, on its enquiry into diversity in STEM. Donald argues that there needs to be better representation of women and people of colour in the science curriculum, and states that post-16 education needs to be broader in order to allow for more choice and subject variance.
The REF Equality and Diversity Panel (EDAP) published its final report this week. The report recognises that while progress has been made since the REF 2014 review, chaired by Lord Stern, approaches to equality, diversity, and inclusion in research are not yet wholly embedded in the work of universities. Stemming from the recommendations of the 2014 Stern review, the REF exercise now reflects more closely the total research activity going on across UK HE. Consequently, inequalities within the system are more apparent in the REF results. However, the 2021 panel, chaired by Dianne Berry, that oversaw the final report recommends further consideration of how EDI issues can be given greater weighting and prominence and calls for further understanding of structural inequalities within the research environment.
Data released on Wednesday by UCAS shows a decline in offer rates at high tariff providers and for the most advantaged (POLAR4 quintile 5) applicants. The most notable dip was seen in medicine and dentistry, where numbers are controlled and demand is going, but the impact can also be seen in subjects allied to medicine and the creative arts. Wonkhe reflects on what this data means for the future of University places.
As the next phase of sector consultation on a draft revised Professional Standards Framework launches, AdvanceHE’s Kathryn Harrison-Graves reflects on the continued strategic importance it plays in learning and teaching.