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Tuition Fees: 10 Reasons Against

Lun, 09/11/2015 - 10:43

Emma Clery sets out Ten Good Reasons Why University Tuition Fees Are A Bad Idea

‘Our society benefited from having a better system in the past; we owe it to future generations not to saddle them with a worse system for the future.’ (Stefan Collini).

Tuition fees at public universities in England are now, on average, the highest in the world. The reform has already been judged by monitoring authorities to be a bankrupt idea. It is without question a rushed and ill-considered experiment, out of line with the policies of other Western democratic nations. The arguments against this high fees regime are many and various. This blog looks at the new system from different angles in order to show the impact it will have on individuals and on society as a whole, on universities and on the national economy, offering ten good reasons why university tuition fees are a bad idea.

Reason1 High Tuition Fees Increase Inequality

Reason2 High Tuition Fees Have Created Unfair Anomalies

Reason3 Middle Income Graduates Pay More than the Rich

Reason4 Graduate Debt Damages Life Chances

Reason5 The Repayment Scheme is an Economic Timebomb

Reason6 Damage to University Finance

Reason7 Damage to University Culture

Reason8 The Future of Universities in Question

Reason9: Against the National Interest.

Reason10 Out of Line with All Other Developed Countries

Read the whole Fees Pamphlet

Ironically, it was a Conservative government, under Harold MacMillan, that first introduced student maintenance grants and free higher education in 1962. It also commissioned the Robbins Report of 1963, which recommended a massive expansion of the university sector. Following World War II, universities were seen as a public good, and it was recognised that Britain was lagging behind when it came to investing in higher education as an engine of economic growth and the route to a more equal, skilled, creative and cohesive society.

Under the Labour government of the mid-60s, this vision was implemented by the founding of new universities and a doubling of student numbers. Those who had benefited financially from university education were largely responsible for the initial expansion through payment of higher rates of taxation, and they continued to contribute in this way. The 1962 Education Act established a funding model of long-term benefits passed from generation to generation. It is this model that was shattered when the House of Commons voted to lift the cap on tuition fees in December 2010. Money that could have supported the next generation into higher education has been diverted to short-term objectives: bailing out the financial sector, cutting higher rate income tax, inheritance tax, and corporation tax to win votes, and the debateable priority of rapidly reducing the Budget deficit.

Tuition fees of £1000 per year were introduced in 1998, and maintenance grants for all but the most under-privileged were abolished, to be replaced by loans and means-tested grants (both limited to significantly less than the full living costs). Fees increased to £3000 in 2004. In 2010, without an electoral mandate, the new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats proposed to slash the direct teaching grant to universities and allow tuition fees to increase up to £9000 per year. After graduation, individuals must repay the loan at a rate of 9 per cent above the new earnings threshold of £21,000. The Conservatives had made no mention of such a radical measure in their manifesto, and the Liberal Democrats had run on an explicit anti-fees pledge, attracting many young people to their cause. In spite of widespread protest, the policy was implemented in 2012.

The government that introduced the measure claimed that it puts students ‘at the heart of the system’. And so it does: as consumers and debtors. But it does not put students at the heart of the higher education system as people, with intellectual gifts to develop, lives to lead, and a contribution to make to wider society.

The high fees regime can still be resisted and reversed, and in the meantime pressure can be brought to bear on potential future changes which will make the system even more damaging. Elite universities are arguing that the cap on fees should be lifted altogether, creating a level of personal debt unthinkable for students from economically deprived backgrounds. Already, the system is being adjusted in a way that will increase the financial pressure on graduates. The government has announced that the earnings threshold at which repayment begins will not rise with inflation, meaning more of the loan will need to be repaid sooner by a greater number of low to middle-earners. At the same time, the means-tested maintenance grant, the last vestige of public support for disadvantaged students, will be abolished in 2016 and replaced by larger loans and consequently greater debt.

What is to be done?

Progressive taxation is the answer, and an end to the spurious arguments on deficit reduction as an excuse for cuts to the public sector and the marketising and privatising of public assets. 

It would cost and estimated £7.1bn to reinstate free Higher Education and £3bn to restore maintenance grants. The labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has proposed that this could be funded by a 7% national insurance rise on incomes over £50,000 and 2.5% higher corporation tax, or else by a slowdown in reducing the deficit.

The ‘fairness’ of the high fees regime is the lie that must be overturned. Higher education is a right which should be accessible to all those who qualify, without involving crippling levels of personal debt. To abolish fees is not to make university education ‘free’. That is a misleading term. Higher education has previously been paid for by previous generations of working people, and predominantly by people who were graduates themselves. Since 1962, every eligible student has had this benefit. The payment for higher education is a precious legacy passed on from one generation to the next. The tripling of tuition fees in 2012 shattered this social bond.

How do you deal with the high fees regime, if you are planning to go to university?

There is the option of studying for far less in other EU countries, at prestigious universities where many programmes are run in English. Highflyers could apply to study at top universities in the US with an array of scholarships and bursaries. At the very least, it would be worth waiting two or even three years before committing, in order to make a thoroughly informed and mature decision about the choice of subject and the place of study, ideally earning some money in the meantime to offset future living costs and reduce subsequent debt.

Continue to protest. Opposition is organised by the National Union of Students, the National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees, the Campaign for the Public University and the Council for the Defence of British Universities. Join marches and sign petitions. Write to your MP whenever there is a key vote. Increase public pressure to expand properly funded further and higher education sectors.  The core idea of education as a public good must be reclaimed and reaffirmed, as the basis for a fairer, more dynamic and unified society.



BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), (2011), Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System, June, 2011.

Campaign for the Public University.

Collini, Stefan (2015) ‘Students deserve better than this consumerist fallacy,’ Guardian, 5/8/15.

Conlon, Gavan, and Pietro Patrignani (2011), The Returns to Higher Education Qualifications, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Research Paper 45, June 2011.

Council for the Defence of British Universities

Hermanns, Deborah (2014), ‘Germany is scrapping tuition fees – why can’t England?’, Guardian, 7/10/14.

Holmwood, John, ed. (2011), A Manifesto for the Public University (London and New York, Bloomsbury Academic). Available open access, here.

National Campaign Against Cuts and Fees

NUS (National Union of Students) (2014), A Roadmap for Free Education. (Wintour, 2015).

Scott, Peter (2014), ‘Let’s fight the idea that high tuition fees are inevitable’, Guardian, 7/10/14.

Walker, Ian (2013), ‘How much is a degree really worth?Guardian, 20/7/13.

Willetts, David (2015), Issues and Ideas on Higher Education: Who Benefits? Who Pays?, The Policy Institute at King’s College London, June, 2015.



Categorías: Universidade

Slouching toward the Market: the new Green Paper for Higher Education, Part II

Dom, 08/11/2015 - 17:55

The Government’s Green Paper, ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’, represents the further implementation of proposals for the marketization of higher education set out in the 2011 White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System. Higher education is directed toward economic value (for students, employers, and taxpayers) and toward economic impact for increased productivity and economic growth. These goals are to be facilitated by market competition. In these respects, it represents the familiar neo-liberal package of de-regulation via markets together with strong central direction from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).


De-regulating the Public Interest

Much is made in the Green Paper of the need to reduce ‘regulatory burdens’ and of the need for ‘light-touch monitoring’, but, from the point of view of academics working currently within universities, the most likely outcome will be a heavy burden of regulation through the new TEF. It seems unlikely that this will be introduced without the consequence of increased surveillance and managerial intervention associated with the REF and the NSS.

Even the indication that there will be changes to the REF to make it less burdensome, is likely to be associated with an increase the use of metrics. It may reduce the burden for university managements and the successor body to HEFCE, but it will also provide tools for a more intensive management of research than that currently experienced by most academic staff.

The Green Paper proposes a streamlining of the different agencies responsible for monitoring higher education performance, and proposes to replace them with an Office for Students (OfS). The latter will be constituted as an arms-length body, but the consolidation of all powers within it only makes it easier for Government to twist its arm.

One of the regulatory purposes of the OfS will be managing the accreditation of ‘alternative providers’ (primarily ‘for-profit’ providers) to give them degree awarding powers and university title. This is to allow them an increased share of student numbers by ‘levelling the playing field’ and incorporating them in the single regulatory framework of the TEF. Nothing is said about their ‘advantage’ in the competition for students from not having a research function and being able to employ full-time teaching only staff (with a higher proportion of lower-paid teaching staff, than in universities that are also engaged with the REF). The consequence is clear in the explicit expectation that competition will bring course closures and the ‘exit’ of existing providers (Part B chapter 2 of the Green Paper is dedicated to managing ‘exit’).

Alongside the relaxation of the restrictions on the entry of alternative providers and the proposal that they should be subject to the same processes as existing higher education institutions, so there is a proposal to deregulate the latter. This is contained a series of proposals in Part C Chapter 3 modifying the ‘public interest’ constraints on existing universities, whether Higher Education Corporations (mostly post-92 institutions governed by the 1988 Education Reform Act) or other universities under Privy Council approval. These changes are designed to increase the autonomy of senior managers, including to dissolve and dispose of assets and change governance arrangements.

Notwithstanding several statements of the need to preserve academic freedom, then, the only lens through which it is viewed is that of the autonomy of senior managers.


Undermining research

Issues of research enter the Green Paper in several ways. First, as a canard to suggest that universities are more focused on research, to the neglect of teaching (there is little evidence of a problem except those produced by the very introduction of the new fees regime which, unlike the NSS, has elicited high dissatisfaction in response to questions about ‘value for money’). Second, as an unstated implication of its provisions for the exit of existing providers with research functions. Less dramatically, of course, course closures will also have an impact on research in particular subjects.

Significantly, the Green Paper seems to show a poor understanding of the relation between teaching and research, especially in social sciences and humanities (perhaps deriving from its failure to consult in these areas). But it also shows a poor understanding of markets.  The implication of its sharp division between teaching and research is that student fees should be spent only on provision of teaching. At least, the Green Paper indicates that students want to know how their fees are spent. In fact, this information will not be provided by the TEF; instead, students will have information on the ‘teaching environment’ for purposes of comparison across universities.

Of course, returns to shareholders and high executive salaries arise as a potential issue of for-profit providers, but, given the absence of a research function, these can all be assigned as either ‘management costs’ of teaching or returns to those providing the ‘capital investment’ in teaching. In 2009, according to the Harkin Report, 22.4 percent of all revenues of for-profit providers in the USA was spent on marketing, advertising, recruiting and admissions staffing, 19.4 percent on profit distributions and just 17.7 percent on instruction.

The Green Paper implies that ‘surpluses’ accruing to not-for-profit providers from revenues derived from teaching should not be applied to research purposes, but should be ploughed back into additional resources for teaching. But increasing student numbers in a course also increases revenues against fixed costs, so additional students can be taught more efficiently. Why should this not contribute to research and scholarship? Certainly, there can be no market-based argument against it, nor are the higher fees charged to overseas students criticised for generating surpluses used for purposes other than teaching and investment in the ‘student exxperience’.

In part, Universities are being penalised for their earlier misuse of TRAC. The purpose of TRAC was to assign fixed costs (estates, libraries, IT, etc) to research and teaching activities, where the former could be recovered through provisions for charging the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of research to Research Councils. This created an incentive to overstate the amount of staff time assigned to research.  This, in turn, made it possible for the Government to suggest that teaching revenues were, inappropriately, subsidising research. However, this depends on treating TRAC data as real rather than an artefact of the FEC regime.

Because the Green Paper proposes the end of HEFCE, there are significant implications for research evaluation. As with the rhetorical gesture towards ‘academic freedom’, there is a gesture towards the importance of the dual-funding model and the Haldane principle. The latter, apparently, is secured by peer review. However, research funding through Research Councils is increasing directed toward BIS priorities and the Green Paper suggests that this will be further reinforced. However, the dual-funding model is also compromised by the proposal that QR may be administered via RCUK (a worse alternative, of course, would be BIS itself) and the further suggestion that this should be subject to greater strategic direction. In any case, BIS is likely to favour RCUK as the body for administering QR funds since it is already enacting policies ensuring greater selectivity and concentration in research funding. This is something that has previously been lobbied for by Russell Group universities, that constraints on the research budget mean that a greater share of it should be reserved for research intensive universities. In a similar way, the Green Paper argues that the same constraint means that the research budget should be directed toward economic impact.

The Government remains committed to a next REF by 2021, but is unsure of its form, other than that it will be strongly directed toward economic impact. Once again, its emphasis is on lighter touch regulation (in terms of the processes of evaluation). It is unlikely that this could be achieved except by an increased role for metrics, notwithstanding recent criticisms in the independent review commissioned by HEFCE, the Metric Tide. Academia itself is increasingly a ‘Big Data’ project for both teaching and research.

The precise nature of the REF will depend on the Nurse Review of Research Councils, which was due to report in Summer, and now, apparently awaits the outcomes of the Spending Review due on November 25th. The prognosis is bleak, both in terms of the Nurse Review being able to offer only limited reforms and in terms of likely cuts to research funding.

Here is the paradox of higher education and the Green Paper. It stresses the importance of market competition and investment in productivity and economic growth. Yet successive governments following neo-liberal policies have presided over a dramatic reduction in private investment in research and development such that the UK now has one of the lowest proportions of income invested in research and development among OECD countries. As research funding is cut the Green Paper seeks to leverage investment in higher education to increase private investment. All values are reduced to economic values, but in place of a promise to re-balance the economy, the economy is increasingly directed toward short-term profits and financialisation. Economic inequalities widen, the proportion of ‘graduate jobs’ declines, and the claim that this can help increase social mobility is increasingly hollow.


Read Part 1 here


Categorías: Universidade

Slouching toward the Market: the new Green Paper for Higher Education, Part I

Dom, 08/11/2015 - 17:48

The Government’s Green Paper, ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’, represents the further implementation of proposals for the marketization of higher education set out in the 2011 White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System. Higher education is directed toward economic value (for students, employers, and taxpayers) and toward economic impact for increased productivity and economic growth. These goals are to be facilitated by market competition. In these respects, it represents the familiar neo-liberal package of de-regulation via markets together with strong central direction from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).


Improving students as consumers

At the centre of the Green Paper are the new plans for the evaluation of teaching in higher education via a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) together with plans to increase the participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds by making access agreements threshold requirements in the TEF. The latter is a welcome emphasis (on which, more below), but overall the proposals are made up of mutually inconsistent objectives. The first is to provide information to students about the nature and quality of teaching at an institutions (preferably, course-specific information); the second is to provide information about expected graduate earnings; and, third, is to provide employers with information about the skills that can be expected from particular courses.

What is proposed is similar to that of the evaluation of research in the Research Excellence Framework. Institutions and their subject areas will be evaluated according to Teaching Quality, Learning Environment, and Outcomes (meaning retention, degree outcomes and graduate incomes). Transitional arrangements are proposed, but, in the medium term, what is proposed is a TEF with scores at ‘4 levels’ (this is similar to research assessment exercises where submissions were judged in terms of thresholds and 5 bands). However, as with later iterations of research assessment, it is likely that these bands will be recomposed as rank orders and grade points (not least because the Green Paper also indicates that it wishes a more differentiated system of degree results for students associated with Grade Point Averages alongside the resent degree classification into 4 bands). For a summary and diagrammatic representation of the TEF, see Mark Leach’s blog at WonkHE.

Assessment will be via metrics and a peer review process involving teaching and learning experts, student representatives, and members of professional associations, and will be conducted on a five-year basis, with possibilities for interim assessments. Once again, this is similar to the REF process and hardly seems to be ‘light touch’. It is likely to produce internal ‘mirroring’ and ‘dry runs’ within institutions which, according to a later chapter in the green paper, has contributed to the rising administrative burden of the REF.

The incentive for institutions is that success in the TEF will allow them to raise their fees in line with inflation. As Andrew McGettigan has pointed out, this isn’t much of an incentive at current and expected inflation rates (and in the light of the administrative costs of compliance). However, once the architecture is in place, fees may be allowed to increase beyond the flagged £9k+ inflation. Indeed, lobbyists from the Russell Group are at pains to point out that allowing institutions to set their own fees is more consistent with a competitive market and was what the Browne Report initially proposed. After all, provision of data from HMRC on graduate earnings facilitates the linking of fees to future earnings, which only makes sense, from a neo-liberal perspective, if fees are allowed to rise beyond the cap for some courses (for example, in line with fees charged for some Masters courses). For further discussion, see Andrew McGettigan’s account of ‘The Treasury View of Higher Education

The incentive for students is even less clear. In the name of improving the means by which students can judge value for money, it has proposed a mechanism that will increase the costs of the degrees at institutions which are successful in the TEF and will devalue them at those which are less successful. After all, although it claims that the proposals are ‘student-centred’, the purpose is also to provide employers with information about the relative value of degrees. The Green Paper states, “the absence of information about the quality of courses, subjects covered and skills gained makes it difficult for employers to identify and recruit graduates with the right level of skills and harder for providers to know how to develop and improve their courses” (page 19). This assumes a market process ‘convergence’ between courses and employer requirements, but students face the problem of ‘investing’ in a course that may receive lower scores in a TEF that takes place after they have made their choice.

The Green Paper is unclear about the role of the NSS, but suggests that it may be used in the short run, with the Office for National Statistics given the responsibility for developing more satisfactory metrics. Given that students are seeking to make comparisons across courses and institutions, any data must be able to bear the weight of comparison. Yet, evaluations of the NSS are unequivocal. According to the Report for HEFCE on Enhancing and Developing the Student Survey, “The design of the NSS means that there are limitations on its use for comparative purposes … In particular, its validity in comparing results from different subject areas is very restricted, as is its use in drawing conclusions about different aspects of the student experience. One issue to be borne in mind is that, in most cases, the differences between whole institutions are so small as to be statistically and practically insignificant” (Executive Summary, point 7).

Cheng and Marsh (‘National Student Survey: are differences between universities and courses reliable and meaningful?‘) reach a similar conclusion, “at the university level, there are relatively few universities that differ significantly from the mean across all universities and, at the course level, there is even a smaller portion of differences that are statistically significant. This suggests the inappropriateness of these ratings for the construction of league tables” (2010: 708). In other words, differences between students’ mean rating of courses are in most cases smaller than differences that would arise from random variation in individual student’s assessment of the same course, given the number of students assessing each course.

None of this, of course, prevents Universities misusing NSS data, though perhaps the most egregious is that of the Russell Group and its statement at every available opportunity, including in its comment on the Green Paper, that, “89% of students at Russell Group universities are satisfied with the teaching on their course, compared to a sector-wide average of 87%.”

The problem is also that the population of students on different courses and at different universities is not the same – different gender mix, different mix of social backgrounds, different proportions of ethnic minorities and so on. Differences in scores may simply reflect differences in the background characteristics of their students. To some extent this is recognised in the Green Paper in both its concern to increase participation by students from disadvantaged backgrounds and its concern with the comparatively poor performance of some BME students at universities. The Green Paper is anxious that universities should be rewarded for improvement in these areas, but improvement may also depress scores on other metrics; just as improvements may depend upon factors outside an institution’s control and may be affected by disincentives within a fee-based system of higher education itself.

Nor are the objectives of widening participation and improving service served by the increase in the number of alternative providers (primarily, but not exclusively for-profit providers) and the stratification of the higher education system that is the Green Paper’s aim. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to be able to be mobile (not least because of reducing living costs by remaining at home, in a context where maintenance grants have been removed and maintenance loans are insufficient). Indeed, the Green Paper suggests that alternative providers are particularly well adapted to providing for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet, the Harkin Report for the US Senate identified the ‘sub-prime’ education offered for sale, primarily to students from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds.


Read Part 2 here

Categorías: Universidade

Fighting Against Casualisation in Education

Xov, 05/11/2015 - 09:30
Conference Invitation!

Fighting Against Casualisation in Education – 2nd National Conference

Cruciform Building, University College London, Gower Street, London, Saturday 21 November, 10:30 AM (for 11:00 AM start) – 6 PM

Do you work in Higher Education on a short-term/hourly paid/insecure contact? Do you regularly work more hours than you are paid for, and still struggle to get by financially? Do the exhausting workloads and relentless demands of the neoliberal University prevent you from providing your students with a real education? If so, or if you’re permanently employed but share our concerns about these issues, then you need to join us on 21st November to share ideas for organising and supporting each other, and help develop a national strategy to effectively challenge casualisation in Higher Education.

FACE (Fighting Against Casualisation in Education) was started by casualised academics at SOAS, who, following significant victories achieved by their campaign Fractionals for Fair Play, wanted to reach out to other people organising against casualisation on the ground. FACE was launched at a conference in February 2015 attended by over 150 people from many different Higher Education institutions across the UK. At the moment we are a loose network of grassroots anti-casualisation campaigns, meeting monthly in either Birmingham, London or Manchester to find ways to support each other’s local campaigns, both to improve working conditions in the here and now, and also ultimately to end casualisation and the neo-liberalisation of Higher Education. FACE threw its support behind the hourly paid tutors and union activists at the University of Warwick who succeeded in forcing management to scrap TeachHigher (an outsourcing agency for academic staff at the University of Warwick). Some of us also attended the UCU National Congress to push the union to take more notice of its members on non-permanent contracts, and recognise that casualisation is going to be everybody’s future unless we stop it now.

Our 2nd national conference will offer skills workshops, space for analysing the shape of casualisation in the United Kingdom, and strategies for organising in a precarious workplace. We are also in the process of developing demands around which casualised workers can both unite nationally, and deploy at their own institutions to effect concrete improvements in pay and conditions. These will be discussed, debated and decided at the conference. We want your input! We are new, we are open, and we want you to come along, share your views and knowledge, and join us!

Click here to register your interest or to let us know of any access, dietary or childcare requirements, which we will do our best to accommodate. If you will have real difficulty affording travel, please also let us know, as we may have limited funds available to defray expenses.

Conference agenda online here

Categorías: Universidade

Support the Student Struggle in South Africa

Ven, 23/10/2015 - 09:57

A call has been made by academic staff at universities in South Africa to colleagues at tertiary institutions around the world, members of civil society and all who have been fortunate enough to enjoy the benefits of higher education, to stand with South African students in their struggle for a democratised higher education sector.

You can read the full statement from academics in South Africa calling on leaders to do what is required to make higher education accessible for all academically deserving students here.

You can also add your support here.

Categorías: Universidade

Higher education’s role in assisting refugee communities: Lessons from History

Xov, 22/10/2015 - 09:08

The ongoing refugee crisis unfolding across Europe has many commentators speaking of the “unprecedented” nature of problems facing national authorities, with many struggling to find a solution to dealing with the increasing influx of refugees.

However, a new policy paper – Student solidarity across borders: Students, universities and refugee crises past and present – published by History & Policy highlights historic contributions made by the higher education sector in assisting refugees – be it Jewish émigrés escaping Nazism, or political dissidents fleeing the Pinochet regime – to escape conflict zones and successfully complete their education.

Whilst drawing on examples from across Europe, the report argues that the UK’s Higher Education sector, which currently comprises 161 institutions and over 2 million students, is particularly well placed to respond to the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War with a bold new aid programme. “I was moved to write this paper after seeing the news reports of thousands of refugees from Syria and elsewhere arriving in Europe over the summer”, Dr. Georgina Brewis, author of the report, explains: “In previous refugee crises, special assistance for students formed part of overall humanitarian efforts, and those helped to complete their education have given back far more than they ever received in aid. Many students and student organisations are keen to help the refugees and it is my hope that this paper will provide useful insights from past experiences.”

The author of the report, Dr Georgina Brewis is Senior Lecturer in the History of Education at UCL Institute of Education, University College London. She is a historian of education, youth and voluntary action and a founder of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives. She is the author of A Social History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond, 1880-1980 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

History and Policy is a unique collaboration between the Institute of Contemporary British History at King’s College London and the University of Cambridge. It is the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. It offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists. For all enquiries, please contact Billy Davis, Public Affairs Manager at historyandpolicy<at>

Categorías: Universidade

Resources for Local Campaigns re Support for Refugee & Asylum Seeker Students & Academics

Mér, 23/09/2015 - 08:36
This article in the Independent outlines the call by academics and Citizens UK for UK universities to do more to support refugees and asylum seekers by offering scholarships and bursaries as needed. This is linked to an open letter to Universities UK calling for a sector wide response to the situation. In the last couple of days, both the University of Warwick and the University of York have announced packages of support for students and academics in such situations. This is very welcome news. Colleagues at the University of Brighton have also set up a petition to encourage their university to support this call. We would be happy to list all the initiatives taken by universities on this page. Please email us at public For colleagues wanting more detailed information, we would strongly recommend that you contact any or all of the following organisations for guidance and support in terms of how best to develop any proposals locally. The Refugee Support Network‘s Higher Education programme offers advice and support to young asylum seekers and refugees who are seeking to access university in the UK. For more information about RSN’s free helpline for young people and practitioners, its ‘Thinking Ahead to Higher Education’ Toolkit, its training package for university and voluntary sector staff, and other helpful links and resources, please visit this page. Article 26 is a project of the Helena Kennedy Foundation. The main aim of Article 26 is to promote access to Higher Education for people who have fled persecution and sought asylum in the UK. CARA, the Council for At-Risk Academics, helps academics and scientists fleeing from discrimination, persecution, suffering and violence in some of the world’s most dangerous places.


Sussex University offers 50 English language scholarships for Syrian refugees


University of Bristol is developing five fully funded studentships for Syrian refugees

Categorías: Universidade

A Call on UK Universities to provide Scholarships and Bursaries to those seeking Refuge

Mar, 22/09/2015 - 16:04

To the Vice Chancellors of UK Universities,

A Call on UK Universities to provide Scholarships and Bursaries for Students and Academics seeking Refuge

We are writing to you in the context of the current refugee and migrant crisis that confronts Europe. We are aware of the excellent work done by some universities in collaboration with third sector organisations such as Article 26STAR (Student Action for Refugees), CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics), and the Refugee Support Network among others.  However, we believe that the time is right for a sector-wide response and a public commitment.

Europe is faced with a challenge to its human values and whether it will meet its obligations in the face of suffering.

As you will be aware, many of those fleeing violence and war are young people whose education has been disrupted and as well as seeking freedom from persecution are also wishing to rebuild their lives through education. Article 26 of the UDHR sets out the right to education. It specifies that ‘higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit’. Yet, those who have been forced to flee face difficulty in accessing education because they do not have access to loans or employment to support them in pursuing it.

Academics also need support.  Many of those now being forced to flee say that they want to return home, when circumstance allows, to help re-build their societies and higher education systems.  Many UK universities are already helping; but the scale of the problem means that universities need now to go further.

We request:

1) that each university in the UK  set up at least 5 scholarships and bursaries  at undergraduate, postgraduate and post-doctoral levels for those fleeing from violence and conflict, to be available from this academic year.

2) that these scholarships and bursaries be attached to the initiatives established by CARA and Article 26.

We also request:

3) that each university in the UK should advertise and promote a welcome to those who have been forced to flee violence, war and persecution.

4) that each university in the UK makes and / or maintains active links with CARA and sets up a working group of academics to support at-risk academics in their local communities.

5) that each university seeks to support those with qualifications seeking recognition or enhancement of those qualifications.

This call is supported by Citizens UK and the Campaign for the Public University.

To sign this letter, please click here.

Categorías: Universidade

Article 26 – Making HE Accessible for Asylum-Seekers & Refugees

Sáb, 12/09/2015 - 10:56

With the current media attention on the plight of refugees and migrants, colleagues may be interested to know about Article 26, which is a project of the Helena Kennedy Foundation. The main aim of Article 26 is to promote access to Higher Education for people who have fled persecution and sought asylum in the UK. The Article 26 project works in partnership with universities to provide advice and guidance on creating packages of support for students seeking asylum, which enables them to not only access but succeed in Higher Education. This includes a full tuition fee bursary and funding to meet some of the additional costs associated with studying.

The universities currently offering bursaries to asylum seekers for the 2015-16 academic year are listed here:

A number of colleagues have expressed an interest in getting their universities to offer bursaries and so I thought it might be helpful to circulate this information. Some universities are doing things independently but it would be helpful to coordinate efforts via Article 26 as it expresses a collective wish to do more and can help to persuade other universities to do more still. There is a suggestion that all universities could offer at least 10 such scholarships and bursaries. We have appended below a draft letter that can be adapted for use to contact senior admin at your universities.


Dear Vice-Chancellor,

We are writing to you in the context of the refugee crisis in Europe. As you will be aware, many of the refugees are young people whose education has been disrupted and as well as seeking freedom from persecution are also wishing to rebuild their lives through education. We are asking you to consider setting up 10 scholarships and bursaries to support refugees and asylum seekers in obtaining higher education. We are asking you to do this as part of a coordinated effort via Article 26.

Article 26 is a project of the Helena Kennedy Foundation whose main aim is to promote access to Higher Education for people who have fled persecution and sought asylum in the UK. The Article 26 project works in partnership with universities to provide advice and guidance on creating packages of support for students seeking asylum, which enables them to not only access but succeed in Higher Education. This includes a full tuition fee bursary and funding to meet some of the additional costs associated with studying. For more information, see here:

Categorías: Universidade