The impact of cost on HE access in the next 10 years ...

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The impact of cost on HE access in the next 10 years ...

  1. 1. The impact of cost on HE access in the next 10 years: Learning from the Australian experience? Dr. Graeme Atherton, Aimhigher Central London Partnership Manager
  2. 2. Summary <ul><li>Background to the research </li></ul><ul><li>Access and cost in England and Australia </li></ul><ul><li>The study and how it was delivered </li></ul><ul><li>The Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Principles, careership & habitus </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for policy in England </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background to the research <ul><li>Australia has had system of tuition fees and post graduation payment since 1989 (DEET 1990) </li></ul><ul><li>England has had such system since 2004 (Dfes 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>England approaching key review of system </li></ul><ul><li>HE participation in Australia amongst low Socio-Economic Status (SES) students not gone down since 1989 – at approx 15% of all students low SES vs 25% low SES in the population (DEEWR 2009)) </li></ul><ul><li>What can England learn from Australian experience? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Access and cost in Australia and England <ul><li>Some evidence of ‘debt aversion’ amongst low SES students in England (Callender & Jackson 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Not large evidence base of young people/students being put off entry </li></ul><ul><li>In Australia no decline in SES but no improvement either & ‘fair access’ issues as access to ‘Group of 8’ slightly down for low SES students (James 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Key interaction of matrix of factors: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Cost is a factor but it is not the only factor. All the evidence points to lower levels of school achievement, lower aspirations, and a lack of perceived personal relevance being far more potent factors’ (James 2007:11) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Australian system <ul><li>Fewer HEIs (39) focused in fewer cities </li></ul><ul><li>A research intensive division as in England (Group of 8) </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity of mission (academic vs technical) </li></ul><ul><li>Stronger vocational route than in England via TAFE courses – vocational tertiary courses at Technical & Further Education Colleges (TAFE) </li></ul><ul><li>Payment of fees related to subjects </li></ul><ul><li>From 1996 HEIs can charge within a band for different subjects </li></ul>
  6. 6. Australian system $0- $4.077 Education, Nursing, Mathematics, Statistics & Science National Priority $0 - $8,677 Law, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Science 3 $0 - $7,412 Accounting, Commerce Administration, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Computing, Architecture, Health, Sciences, Engineering, Science, Surveying, Agriculture 2 $0 – 5,201 Humanities, Arts, Behavioural Science, Social Studies, Foreign Languages & Performing Arts 1
  7. 7. Australian system <ul><li>HECS (Higher Education Contribution System) – Loan to pay back fees via the tax system </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Full fee paying places’ – students with lower scores who pay all fees </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Allowance – means tested payment via Social Security System to 16-24 yr olds </li></ul><ul><li>AusStudy – means tested payment for over 25s </li></ul><ul><li>Recent reform package (DEEWR 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>Start up scholarships/increase in YA threshold </li></ul>
  8. 8. The study & how it was delivered <ul><li>Focus groups with total of 250 learners in England & Australia </li></ul><ul><li>3 universities & 3 schools/colleges in each country </li></ul><ul><li>Students in HE and those from year 9 to 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Rural & urban locations </li></ul><ul><li>All participants ‘first in family to go to HE’ </li></ul>
  9. 9. The findings <ul><li>Similarities across countries /contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Number of ‘ Key principles ’ underpinning decisions/preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Employment and Enjoyment main influence on HE entry decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Cost is a concern but not a deterrent </li></ul><ul><li>Attainment levels make cost more of a concern </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, paying for HE is fair </li></ul><ul><li>Paying back after graduation is fair </li></ul><ul><li>HE should be ‘value for money’ </li></ul>
  10. 10. Influence Ladder 3 3 How good my results and performance at school were 2 2 Whether I enjoy learning about a particular subject that I could stay at university 1 1 Whether the career that I wanted to pursue requires a university degree 7 6 Taking part in activities involving university visits or meeting university students which helped me learn more about university life 6 5 Whether my parents/carers of other family members thought I should go to university or not 10 11 What I saw on TV/read in magazines about university and university life 5 6 Information from universities about the courses they offered and university life 4 4 The cost of going to university and how much debt I thought I would be in after I finish at university 8 7 Information from schools/colleges about going to university 11 10 Whether my friends want to go to university 9 8 Whether my teachers thought I could go to university A E Influence
  11. 11. Employment <ul><li>‘ I went to university to so I could get the qualifications you need for a good career. You would not go to university unless you needed the qualifications.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Mature university student Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The career I want to pursue is the most important reason because if I don’t need a degree for my job. There is no point in going to uni if you don’t need to.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 9 pupil England) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Enjoyment <ul><li>‘ I needed to do something that I was passionate in and wanted to do to keep my interest and so it would make me stick uni out. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Australian student) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The subjects I want to do at uni are the ones that I am interested in so when I look for universities they have to do my course. They would have to offer me a large amount for example to make me choose a uni or course that was cheaper but I wasn’t interested in. I know that doing a course in art means I won’t earn as much but it is what I want to do. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(England, Year 12 pupil) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Cost concern not deterrent <ul><li>‘ I think about the cost and I think that it is too much but I will still go to uni because there is HECs.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 12 pupil Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Basically my number one reason for going is that I really want to study at a higher level and I will get there any way I can. But I could not afford law so I am studying arts. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The cost and the debt are a worry but I don’t think about it. It doesn’t seem real when you have to pay it back later. It’s almost like monopoly money sometimes.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student England) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It is like good and bad debt. Nobody likes paying but it has to be done, like paying for a top-up card on your phone. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student England) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Cost and process in England <ul><li>English students seem to find the ‘finance regime’ more complicated that in Australia </li></ul><ul><li>‘ My mum doesn’t do forms, so I had to learn. We don’t have it in our family, nobody in my area ever goes so she doesn’t know. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(University student) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The process is confusing, you have to look here for one thing and there for another. The forms for the loan are different to grants and things. And after that there is what the uni might give you. I’ve looked at the website but it is hard to follow. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 12 student) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It is the acronyms as well – SLC, LEA, - where do you start if you are in year 12 say. I am an ambassador so I have learnt about it but when you try and explain it you realise how complicated it is.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(University student) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Attainment levels make cost more of a concern <ul><li>‘ If it was free or something you would think about it more. I have heard it is really expensive? Is that right? Thing is though, I want to go and do a TAFE course and I don’t think I would get the ENTER scores anyway, I am not smart enough.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 9 pupil Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I do worry about my grades and things because I only just got into uni. If I do fail then the debt will really be there and it was hard to get to uni anyway.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student England) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Most think paying for HE is fair 45 55 Eng. Year 9 30 70 Eng. Year 12 25 75 Eng. Uni 20 80 Eng. ‘Russell Group’ Uni 10 90 Aus. Year 9 20 80 Aus. Year 12 15 85 Aus. Uni 10 90 Aus. Group of 8 Uni Not fair Fair Case Study
  17. 17. Paying for HE is fair <ul><li>‘ It is fair to pay because you have to pay for everything in life. Also, if you didn’t pay people might go for the wrong reasons and mess about and things’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 9 pupil England) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Yes, it’s fair. When you work it out it’s like $80 an hr of class. That’s ok considering you have to pay for buildings and lecturers and things’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ It’s fair otherwise taxes would increase and people who don’t go to uni would be paying for others’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I don’t think it is fair because people who want to go to uni but can’t afford it might not go ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 9 pupil England) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Paying back after graduation is fair <ul><li>‘ It’s reasonable that you know what you are signing up for. It is also available to everybody without prejudice so you don’t have to prove you are eligible.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I couldn’t go to uni without HECs, it’s opened up things for me. The full paying thing couldn’t happen for me as my parents could never afford to lend me the money. ’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student Australia) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Paying back after you finish sounds ok. The amount seems a lot though but if you are earning afterwards it will be like other things you pay for later I suppose, like cars and stuff.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 9 pupil, England) </li></ul>
  19. 19. HE should be value for money <ul><li>‘ I am doing just 4 hours a week and that is not enough given what I pay. The other day the lecturer cancelled the class because there wasn’t enough students. I’m thinking what am I paying for here? Just because some other people don’t turn up I don’t get the service – where else can people get away with that?’ </li></ul><ul><li>(HE student England) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The fees and HECs are fair but it is too expensive for what you get. If it was a bit less then that would be better. I know some of my friends think it isn’t worth it.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Year 12 student Australia) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Major differences <ul><li>HECs has a ‘brand name’ in Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Paying for fees more embedded in Australia but is seen as ‘too expensive’ </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed knowledge of finance system low as in England </li></ul><ul><li>A vocational route makes HE appear less important </li></ul><ul><li>A full paying alternative makes HECs in Australia attractive </li></ul><ul><li>Support for paying differential fees divided in England at present </li></ul>
  21. 21. Theoretical explanations of HE entry <ul><li>‘ Habitus ’: ‘ ‘an amalgamation of the past and present that mediates current and future engagement with the social world, shaping what is perceived as ab/normal, un/desirable and im/possible’ (Archer et al 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Careership ’: ‘pragmatic rational’ decisions within ‘horizons of action’ with certain key turning points’ (Hodkinson 2008) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Unpacking these ideas <ul><li>Both theories based on young people/students holding certain principles regarding (higher) education </li></ul><ul><li>How can study help us understand more about how habitus or careership works? </li></ul><ul><li>Key issue is how the principles outlined earlier interact/relate to each other in different contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of HE seen in cost:benefit terms as a relative investment – form of rationality within a certain habitus </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of cost:benefit related to ‘learner identity’ – how good am I at education? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Policy implications in England <ul><li>Over time what was new becomes normal </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of HE have to outweigh costs </li></ul><ul><li>Is HE relevant to my career? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it offer things I am interested in? </li></ul><ul><li>How do lower SES pupils/students form these perceptions and when do they form them? </li></ul><ul><li>Which groups of pupils/students is HE for and who is telling them this? </li></ul><ul><li>Which ‘principles’ are important for policy? </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly – HE has to offer ‘value for money’ </li></ul><ul><li>The regime appears complex, beauracratic and hard to access </li></ul>
  24. 24. Finally <ul><li>Australia learning from England </li></ul><ul><li>Australia about to create ‘a partnership programme worth £108m over 4 years to link universities with schools, vocational education and training providers. This will promote leading practice, increase the aspirations of students and contribute to higher rates of education attainment of low SES, indigenous, regional and remote students’ http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Documents/PDF/Pages%20from%20A09-303%20Budget%20Fact%20Sheets-2_webaw.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Sounds familiar? </li></ul>
  25. 25. References <ul><li>Archer, L., Hollingworth, S., & Halsall, A. (2007) ‘University’s not for me – I’m a Nike person: Urban, Working-Class Young People’s Negotiations of ‘Style’, Identity and Educational Engagement Sociology 41:219 </li></ul><ul><li>Callender & Jackson (2005) Does the fear of debt deter students from higher education? Journal of Social Policy , 34(4) 509-540 </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Education and Skills (2003) The future of higher education London: Dfes. </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) (2009) Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System Canberra: Australian Government </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Employment, Education and Training, National Board of Employment, Education and Training (1990) A Fair Chance for All: Higher Education that’s within everyone’s reach Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service </li></ul><ul><li>Hodkinson, P. (2008) Understanding career decision making and progression: Careership Revisited John Killeen Memorial Lecture, Woburn House, London 16 th October 2008 http://www.crac.org.uk/crac_new/pdfs/fifth_johnkilleenlecturenotes.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>James, R. (2007) Social equity in a mass, globalised higher education environment: the unresolved issue of widening access to university Faculty of Education Dean’s Lecture Series 2007, Centre for the Study of Higher Education </li></ul>

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