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Higher Education White paper released watch

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    "The Government has now published its Higher Education White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System.

    The proposals outlined in the White Paper represent a radical reform of higher education in England and for that reason it is important that all interested parties have an opportunity to comment on our proposals."

    4 key areas covered in the white paper include:

    - Sustainable and fair funding
    - Well-informed students driving teaching excellence
    - A better student experience and better-qualified graduates
    - Improved social mobility through fairer access



    Do you have any thoughts on the White Paper?
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    If the government is so insistent on improving student mobility and widening access maybe they should address the issue of maintenance loans not even covering the accommodation of many students and making them completely reliant on the support of parents. Instead of flouncing about all of their fancy words and attempting to justify their actions by concentrating on the support available to the the very poorest. The poorest do not represent the vast majority of people going to university.

    These ideas are almost entirely designed to reduce loan costs for the government, attempting to push down the spiralling costs of tuition fees that they have created by offering more cut price degrees at new institutions which will seriously harm the quality of study.
    I believe that many students will feel forced to attend these lower cost providers due to fears of not getting into too much debt (I don't care how the government attempts to spin it, it's still debt) and thus the average quality of graduates will fall. This will obviously be detrimental to the economy and the prospects of the students themselves.
    This hokum about 'putting students in the driving seat' is abolutely ridiculous and just meaningless words. Students already choose which university they wish to attend and there are already a diverse range that they can select from.

    I can guarantee that the vast majority of students and academics will be opposed to the vast majority of these ideas. The best one in my opinion is giving students more information about the universities but a large amount of this information is already available.

    None of the goverments measures will widen access. The root cause of the problem is the rigid and ineffective examination procedure and the poor teaching standards in many schools.
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    Why is it so long? I wish they would just cut the political filler and focus on the topic.
    I'm glad that they finally admit the new fees are similar to a graduate tax, why didn't they just say that in the first place it might have made it a lot easier to understand and might have stopped a lot of people worrying that they would no longer be able to afford to go to uni.
    I'd like to know what the government plans to do when all uni's are charging the maximum £9,000 fees though, will they really be able to fund everyone that wants to go to uni as they've promised to do?
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    I really like the points put forward regarding information, in particular stats on certain courses. Information and data should be as open and honest as possible when it comes to course stats. There will always be more to stats than meets the eye (which is where talking to other students/a little bit of further investigation comes in) but it's a good start. That said... it does kind of feel like it's masking the bigger issues. It's not as if you couldn't have done that under the old system is it?

    I also agree with the above and the length - one of the well publisised criticisms of when the Browne report came out was that it was all too complicated for Joe Bloggs. Whether you agree with that point or not, with this white paper you're hardly beating that previous notion.
    We don't want a dumbed down version, but it would be good to see the points that are relative to us.
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    (Original post by E_Blackadder)
    I also agree with the above and the length - one of the well publisised criticisms of when the Browne report came out was that it was all too complicated for Joe Bloggs. Whether you agree with that point or not, with this white paper you're hardly beating that previous notion.
    We don't want a dumbed down version, but it would be good to see the points that are relative to us.
    Exactly, you can't produce a report titled Students at the Heart of the System but then produce it in a format that only 1% of students will actually read?!

    (Original post by E_Blackadder)
    I really like the points put forward regarding information, in particular stats on certain courses. Information and data should be as open and honest as possible when it comes to course stats. There will always be more to stats than meets the eye (which is where talking to other students/a little bit of further investigation comes in) but it's a good start. That said... it does kind of feel like it's masking the bigger issues. It's not as if you couldn't have done that under the old system is it?
    The information data will be good but it's not a ground breaking move, there's so much more to choosing a uni and I don't think that graduate employment rates would have made me change my mind on where I wanted to go. I don't think I even checked it's position in the league tables.
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    (Original post by maveryck)
    Exactly, you can't produce a report titled Students at the Heart of the System but then produce it in a format that only 1% of students will actually read?!
    I think over the last 12 months we've all been reminded of once a so well known fact; politicians aren't on the side of students, doctors, working class, middle class....only themselves.
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    Just shut all the crap universities (ex polys) that the labour party very intelligently introduced, so everyone could go to uni.

    Uni should be for the very top performers, not for everyone like it almost is now. Where anyone who wanted to go to uni could.

    Funding can then be concentrated on far better establishments.

    Grants also need to be addressed so that can directly help rather than what they currently finance like a poster above has said
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    (Original post by stevop21)
    Just shut all the crap universities (ex polys) that the labour party very intelligently introduced, so everyone could go to uni.
    You mean those created under the Major government in 1992?
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    (Original post by sandys1000)
    You mean those created under the Major government in 1992?
    "You have reached the limit of how many posts you can rate today!"

    Damn you TSR! MAde me laugh though, exactly what I was thinking when I read his post :p:
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    (Original post by sandys1000)
    You mean those created under the Major government in 1992?
    I beg your pardon, sorry
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    I'm in year 12 now and will soon be applying to start uni in 2012 and I have to say, it is the most uncertain thing in the country.
    We don't definitely know what fees will be. We don't know what courses will be running, we don't know anything! And this thing about giving us more information on the unis we might apply to, when do we get this information??? Last I checked, applications start in September, so the government has until then to deliver what we've been promised regarding uni fees....All seems a bit unlikely.
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    Didn't read the report in its entirety, just the executive summary. The only thing wrong with the system is the £9k cap and the £21k when you have to start paying it back.

    Both of which are somewhat impractical as in time to come the fees will again increase and at an exponential rate which could have been avoided and deemed more equitable had it been the case that fees would gradually rise......maybe in line with inflation perhaps?

    The £21k when you have to start repaying, it doesn't take into account wages don't seem to increase in line with inflation and for the most part everything else does, surely it would be better if this was adjustable annually then it would be better.

    Interest rates....... personally I think this is just wrong. I mean variable interest rates?? Where is the equity in that?

    Overall I think it is a good step forward but it has also effectively made UK one of the most expensive places for higher education after USA.

    Not saying it is the current government's fault that it has come to this, but I think the government could do better.
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    (Original post by stevop21)
    Just shut all the crap universities (ex polys) that the labour party very intelligently introduced, so everyone could go to uni.
    Transparency - doesn't and will not exist these are businesses, the more prestigious the more ruthless. Perversely you will probably find more educational motivation from staff better in the lower institutions because they can, in the elites it is all research driven, teaching is back seat.

    You are going to get a big surprise, the reputation is built upon research not education, do you really think your top research professor will be teaching you in these elite Universities?

    Have you any idea which universities have had compulsory redundancies over the last few years?

    Are you prepared for the first week "what A levels did you get" questions? Are you going to be gutted when you work out how many are on your course without meeting the offer? Top Universities may not enter clearing (officially) but they do drop offers to firms who do not make it so it is not uncommon to have AAB+ courses with C and even D A levels within them, but at least they didn't enter clearing.

    Why not look at the league tables, NSS etc. strip out what they inherit (UCAS scores, research income etc.) and just look at the teaching side of things. Even then staff:student ratios etc. are often manipulated by putting post-grads into the data. Looks attractive but in reality you just end up in large lectures and non-doctoral staff in many places.

    In fact if you look at the tables carefully you will find many are numerically very similar with 20-40 places in the ranking affected by less than 1% change.

    AAA student go for the elites you will cope wherever you are, any students performing less then think carefully about realistic aspirations as to where you go.
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    I think these proposals are very naive. They seem to proceed on the assumption that all participants, applicants, schools and universities will play by the intent behind the rules the government is designing.

    We have had 15-20 years of headteachers skewing the 11-16 examinations taken by their pupils in order to maximise league table positions.

    Clearly university VCs reacted in an unexpected and unwanted way to the introduction of £9000 tuition fees.

    Hitherto, it has been very difficult to game or rig university admissions for UK applicants. That is because applicants have had to satisfy the subjective judgment of admissions tutors that they are worthy of a place. A very few students with money no object may have declared themselves international to secure easier admissions standards. Another few may have gone out of their way to acquire contextual factors by changing school in their VIth form. Rather more parents rig the student finance system, either by controlling their income if self-employed or shifting the residence of the the student where the parents are divorced. None the less the system is basically honest.

    Now the White Paper proposes non-quota applications for AAB or equivalent students and additional places for cheap universities.

    Some universities (Oxford and Cambridge for two) are likely to resist the inducement of extra places. Others may well treat them in the same way as overseas places. If you meet AAB you are in. If so university admissions are likely to switch from showing admissions tutors you are one of the best candidates for a place, to getting AAB at any cost.

    This begs the question of what is AAB or equivalent? Is is 340 UCAS points? Is it 340 UCAS points from 3 A levels? Is it 340 UCAS points from 3 A levels taken at one sitting? Do general studies and critical thinking count? What about A*AC or A*BB? What about language A levels taken by native speakers? What about very similar subjects e.g economics and business studies or maths, further maths and statistics? Universities all have to deal with those questions and not all universities answer them in the same way. Some of the questions are rarely posed by candidates because the answer given by many universities is unfavourable.

    Where is the value in the UCAS table? Is AAB harder to get than DDD in BTEC or 28 in the IBac? I suspect the answer will be different for different people but schools and colleges will play to candidates' strengths.

    What about vocational qualifications for academic courses? There are some very high points scores for vocational qualifications really because it was assumed that people who did well would go on to do well in vocational degrees. However, if some universities start letting in anyone with AAB because that is an extra place, students might start do vocational diplomas to get admission to academic courses.

    Satisfying the government's definition of AAB may be an open sesame to a good university. For those candidates who need all the help they can get to get AAB, their schools are going to play the system. Willetts sees 55,000 AAB candidates. Without any grade inflation at all, that figure is likely to rise to 80,000 or so just by people maximising their chances.

    Then there is the problem of the "glamour" careers. We have too many students taking courses with a view to working in investment banking, fashion, law and media. Opening up the quotas is likely to mean even more doing so. I don't see that publishing employment statistics is going to change this. In a world where thousands of people will queue for a place in a West End musical, telling someone that statistically they only have a 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 chance of becoming a solicitor is going to put them off. It is still within the bounds of reasonable possibility that they will "make it".

    What about medicine? The NHS funds clinical medicine. Are we going to end up with twice as many pre-clinical medical students as there are clinical medical studentships? Spain created an enormous surplus of doctors because everyone with the grades was allowed to go to medical school but no-one said that the Spanish health service had to employ all the medical graduates.
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    The Student Room gets a mention on page 30 towards the bottom of 2.17 "The Student Room, which provide forums for informal sharing of students’ views about higher education."
    Looks like TSR is rolling with the big boys.

    I have now read the first two chapters and a lot of it seems to me like it's just common sense proposals. The fact that they want UCAS and SLC to merge their data in some way and have a single place to apply for uni and student finance seems like a bit of a no brainer to me and something that should have been done a long time ago, maybe they'll also ensure some more people on the phones at the beginning of each term when the loan inevitably fails to come through in time?

    I'm also surprised at the lack of postgrad info, it hints in 2.13 at providing similar data that 'postgrads might find useful' but there doesn't seem to be any set plan for it. Hopefully i'm wrong as i think that it's just as important to have that information whether your applying for a first degree or masters, especially if you've been out of uni for a year or two as many do to raise money for their course. (stopping before i start on postgrad funding)
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    It says that the UCAS Review will be reported early in 2012.
    If they decide to replace the current admission system with that when students get their actual result and apply, when would it take place??
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    (Original post by Sufian_TRP)
    It says that the UCAS Review will be reported early in 2012.
    If they decide to replace the current admission system with that when students get their actual result and apply, when would it take place??
    I'm guessing it wouldn't be until 2013/14, otherwise they'd have to get everyone applying this September to reapply in 2012 after exams
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    (Original post by maveryck)
    The Student Room gets a mention on page 30 towards the bottom of 2.17 "The Student Room, which provide forums for informal sharing of students’ views about higher education."
    Looks like TSR is rolling with the big boys.

    I have now read the first two chapters and a lot of it seems to me like it's just common sense proposals. The fact that they want UCAS and SLC to merge their data in some way and have a single place to apply for uni and student finance seems like a bit of a no brainer to me and something that should have been done a long time ago, maybe they'll also ensure some more people on the phones at the beginning of each term when the loan inevitably fails to come through in time?

    I'm also surprised at the lack of postgrad info, it hints in 2.13 at providing similar data that 'postgrads might find useful' but there doesn't seem to be any set plan for it. Hopefully i'm wrong as i think that it's just as important to have that information whether your applying for a first degree or masters, especially if you've been out of uni for a year or two as many do to raise money for their course. (stopping before i start on postgrad funding)
    It also means that...they are watching us :eek:
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    sounds like a lot more bureaucratic clap trap to me. I thought the govt wanted to deregulate HE??? Why then are they imposing even more regulation and a new regulator to boot???

    the paper is very much about bureaucracy and not much about students at all.

    as a student, I want to know that my programme will be well respected by future employers and also by other universities, but more than that, I want to know that it is a 'good' course - that it has inherent value, is academically respected and that it will be a good use of all the time I have spent on it. that doesn't mean it has to lead me to a job, but that it has to have taught me to think, to learn and to understand more about the world and about life in general. afterall, its a degree, not a training course. if I want skills to do a job, I'll go on an appropriate training course. a degree should be so much more than that. I thought Willetts, with his Oxford education, would know that. maybe he's forgotten. it was a long time ago, after all.
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    Good for doodling.
 
 
 
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