Higher Education Policy Institute


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Higher Education Policy Institute

  1. 1. Higher Education Policy Institute o Founded in 2002 o The UK’s only independent think tank focusing exclusively on higher education o Our mission: to improve higher education in the UK by creating a better informed policy environment – informed by research & analysis and drawing on the experiences of other countries
  2. 2. HEPI’s Director o HEPI is now led by Nick Hillman, former special advisor to the Minister for Universities & Science, David Willetts o Its founding Director, Bahram Bekhradnia, former Director of Policy for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, is now HEPI’s First President
  3. 3. HEPI Funding o Established with pump-priming grants from HEFCE and the charitable foundations – the Gatsby Trust and Atlantic Philanthropies o HEPI’s income is now self generated and comes from a range of sources: - our Partnership Programmes - HEPI conferences - Sponsorship - International Consultancy
  4. 4. HEPI Advisory Board o HEPI is guided by an Advisory Board made up of senior figures from the HE sector including: o Sir Graeme Davies o Professor Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University o Professor David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham o Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice Chancellor, University of Kent
  5. 5. HEPI’s reputation – based on o HEPI’s research – seen to be timely, authoritative and balanced o HEPI’s ability to influence senior policy-makers through the quality of its research o HEPI’s ability to analyse effectively the impact of government policies on the sector and present the evidence clearly and effectively o HEPI also takes a global view – seeking to ensure best practice from overseas is used to improve HE in the UK
  6. 6. HEPI’s work o Underpinning HEPI’s work is a belief that policies for the future of the UK’s university system should be based on sound and objective analysis o And that analysis should be used effectively in the development of evidence-based policy making
  7. 7. HEPI’s focus o To identify the key policy issues in HE – both immediate and long-term o To identify research and experience relevant to these issues, both in this country and overseas o To identify further research needed to illuminate those issues and to facilitate that research as well as undertaking our own research and policy analysis o To alert policy makers to the findings from our research & policy analysis through our HEPI reports, seminars, conferences
  8. 8. The way we work o To be effective, HEPI has to target all those who need to be better informed about the policy environment within which they operate and who can influence policy o Our targets include senior leaders in the sector including Vice Chancellors, Chairs of University Governing Bodies, senior university administrators as well as the media, politicians, business leaders and students
  9. 9. The way we work o We use a range of means for reaching these different audiences to maximise our effectiveness, including o face to face meetings o Invite-only seminars (eg HEPI House of Commons breakfast seminar series) o Media appearances and articles o HEPI conferences
  10. 10. HEPI Research & Policy Analysis HEPI research focuses on a range of key issues including: o the student academic experience o cost of the Governments reforms to HE o Supply and demand for HE (impact of Coalition’s reforms) o University Governance o Research funding and assessment o Male and female participation and progression in HE o HE Regulation
  11. 11. Focus on HEPI research o Student Academic Experience o Cost of the Government’s reforms to the financing of higher education
  12. 12. HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey o student academic experience survey first carried out by HEPI in 2006, when the new system of higher education funding was introduced, and repeated in 2007, 2009, 2012 and in 2013 jointly with Which? o As students pay more do they receive a better “academic” experience (eg more contact with staff, smaller teaching groups, better facilities) o 2013 survey: sample of 26,000 HEPI & Which? were able to compare the experience of students studying the same subject at one university against another. It also included the experiences of 3rd and 4th year students for the first time, and the experiences of students at universities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  13. 13. 2013 HEPI/Which? Student Academic Experience Survey – key findings o there is no sign that as students pay more they are receiving more for their money - reflected in a sharp increase in the proportion of students who feel that they are not receiving good value for money o Contact hours are important to students and in the 2013 survey, the great majority of students were satisfied regardless of how much contact they received but within this overall general satisfaction, those with the least contact were least satisfied. o There is a large variation between those universities that require the most and those that require the least amount of effort in any one subject
  14. 14. 2013 Survey: what students want o Students were asked for priorities for the use of the additional fees they now pay o Increasing contact with staff together with reductions in the size of teaching groups were the two options whose mention had increased over the years more than any others.
  15. 15. Student Academic Experience Survey – policy implications o Quality & Standards o QAA guidelines assume that a full-time student at a UK university studies for a total of 1200 hours per year (10 hours of study = one credit; a 3 year honours degree requires 120 credits per year for 3 years). o The implications of the 2013 survey findings is that on average students at English universities study for no more than 900 hours per year - less than ¾ of the time that is expected for a degree programme. o This suggests that on average the standards of degrees are not as has been assumed – or that the calibration of a credit against 10 hours of study needs to be reconsidered.
  16. 16. Student Academic Experience Survey – policy implications o Comparability of standards between institutions o Large variation between those universities that require the most and those that require the least amount of effort in any one subject o There are many institutions where formal lessons are relatively few and that is not compensated by the amount of private study required o It is unlikely that on average students studying for less than half the time studied by other students in the same subject will achieve the same outcomes but almost all obtain degrees, no matter the differences in the amount of studying they have done.
  17. 17. Average number of hours of study in same subject varies greatly between universities
  18. 18. HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey
  19. 19. Student Academic Experience Survey – policy implications o Reform of the admissions process? o Nearly one third of the students surveyed said they would definitely or possibly have chosen a different course if they had been given the chance o a significantly larger proportion of students from new universities say so than old (impact of clearing) o Points to the importance of reforming the admissions process to create a better match between student aptitude and course selection.
  20. 20. The cost of the Government’s reforms of the financing of HE o First piece of analysis conducted in 2012, updated in 2013 o 2013 report also provides first assessment of the Autumn Statement announcement to abolish student number controls o HEPI analysis focuses on the RAB cost – Resource Accounting and Budgeting cost the net cost to the Government of the loans that it makes
  21. 21. The costs of the Government’s reforms of HE financing o HEPI analysis key findings: o RAB charge could end up higher than the Government’s most recent estimate of between 35% & 40% (30% in March 2011) o A 10% increase in the RAB amounts to about £1billion a year of unbudgeted expenditure. o Why? Assessments of future earnings growth and especially dispersion of income growth are the two most important reasons for treating the RAB estimates as uncertain and optimistic (NAO Report 2013). o Rising RAB charge puts pressure on public expenditure
  22. 22. The cost of the Government’s reforms of HE financing o Surprise announcement to lift the cap on student number controls from 2015-16 o By the same deadline, private institutions will also be freed up in a similar manner o How to pay for it? o Sale of the student loan book
  23. 23. Cost of the Government’s reforms of HE financing Lifting of the cap - Potential impact on institutions: o Size of institutions o Level of competition between institutions o Introduction of an element of price sensitivity (largely missing to date) o Recruitment no longer a zero sum game – more people from under represented groups accessing HE?
  24. 24. The cost of the Government reforms of HE financing o HEPI conclusion: proposals not sustainable in the medium term leading to even greater uncertainty o at best the current policy can only be a bridge for a few years prior to an increased budget for higher education, or to reduced student numbers or to a cheaper package.
  25. 25. Examples of Other work o Impact on demand of the Government’s HE reforms - key policy question here is how to achieve a reversal of the trend of decreasing numbers of mature, particularly mature parttime, students o New Regulatory framework for HE o Research assessment and funding (Autumn Conferences) o Government’s HE reforms – unfinished business
  26. 26. HEPI Research & Policy Analysis o HEPI Research is published without restriction on our website www.hepi.ac.uk o + concise edited versions (our blue booklets) are distributed to over 1500 senior policy makers in academic, government and business o HEPI University Partners receive advance embargoed access to HEPI’s research & analysis
  27. 27. HEPI University Partners o Important network of support for HEPI o See HEPI as a valuable resource for the sector: critical friend o Advanced and exclusive access to HEPI’s own initiatives and research outputs. These include the well-regarded HEPI Policy Briefing Papers produced three times a year o Annual Policy Briefing Seminar
  28. 28. HEPI @HEPI_news