Good morning. The state of higher education policy feels markedly different from this time last week following George Osborne's Budget which contained several big surprises and plenty of policy changes. Today Wonkhe publishes a new report today with Capita asking: are we ready for the SNC cap to come off? Nesta and UUK start the week substantially opening up the debate about data capability and Thursday sees OFFA publish its decisions on access agreements.
Budget shockwaves reverberate
The Chancellor's Budget is still causing shockwaves across the sector a few days on. Cementing his role as HE policy-maker-in-chief, George Osborne announced a raft of new policy to Parliament. To recap the headlines are:
- Fees will be allowed to rise with inflation from 2017-18 with the increases linked to teaching excellence. This will give the TEF far shaper teeth then anyone imagine with real cash now at stake as the £9,000 fee begins to creep up.
- Maintenance grants are being scrapped and instead students will have access to maintenance loans from 2016 - giving the poorest a little extra cash in their pockets whilst at university, but adding an extra chunk to their debts post-graduation. Andrew McGettigan carried an early analysis of HMT's numbers that show under these changes, the poorest students will graduate with the largest debts.
- The £21,000 repayment threshold is being frozen pending a consultation.
- The government is planning a "clearer and faster" route to degree awarding powers for new providers and looking at options for providers without DAPs to offer degrees "independently of existing institutions". The government will also introduce a performance pool of student numbers to be awarded to the "best" alternative providers. Precious little further information about these measures are available, but former special adviser and current HEPI director Nick Hillman has already suggested on his blog that these ideas go "further then anything David Willetts proposed".
- The Budget contained no details of how BIS will save £450m this year, an in-year cut announced several weeks ago. HEFCE are expecting to lose £150m, but we have yet to see any detail of how the axe will fall.
Also this week, IFS are expected to publish an analysis of the changes to student and university finance made in the Budget - definitely worth looking out for. A raft of consultations plus TEF Green Paper are expected soon, and so the sector is in for a very busy time for policy - perhaps even with some legislation to cement the fees/TEF/DAP measures. We'll follow the twists and turns in detail, but in the mean time, here is our analysis published immediately following the Budget last week:
Universities continue to defy gravity - from Jonathan Simons.
Time to remove the fuzzy edges from the TEF - from Gordon McKenzie
My snap verdict on the Budget and its measures published minutes after the Chancellor's speech.
Are we ready for the SNC cap to come off?
It was another Budget occasion - the Autumn Statement in December 2013 in which George Osborne caught the sector off-guard by announcing the abolition of student number controls. As we head towards A Level results day and the start of the sector's uncapped future from September, Wonkhe with Capita today publishes a new report asking 'are we ready?' We've spoken to planners, policy wonks, national policymakers and managers to find out how institutions and the sector has prepared for a post-SNC cap market. You can download the full report here.
Are you data capable?
NESTA and UUK both publish reports today on the use of data - by organisations and by universities in teaching and research. On our Data Blog today, the HE sector's data wonk in residence Andy Youell brings this all together and asks what it means for universities. He writes that "HE is in the unique position of being both a supplier of skills and a sector that needs these skills itself; we are sitting at both ends of the telescope and perhaps could learn much from ourselves."
You might also have missed on Wonkhe
Policy Watch: on James Wilsdon's engrossing report for HEFCE on the role of metrics in research: 'The Metric Tide. Registrarism reports on a curious graduate 'talent shop' in China.
Odds and sods elsewhere
The Daily Mail details the government's plan to kick out international students after they complete their studies, or as BIS Secretary of State (and supposed champion of universities and students at Cabinet) Sajid Javid put it succinctly last week: "Study here, then leave."
The rest of the week's higher education agenda
Monday July 13th
EVENT: SRHE Women and HE leadership in developing countries conference, London
REPORT: Wonkhe & Capita: Removal of SNCs: are we ready? + seminar in London
REPORT: UUK and NESTA reports on data capability
Tuesday July 14th
EVENT: Open Forum Research Impact: Evidencing the REF conference, Manchester
Wednesday July 15th
EVENT: Go International WP in Student Mobility Programmes conference, London
EVENT: JISC Connect more: Innovative technology conference, London
EVENT: SRHE Postgraduate Ethics: Issues, Dilemmas, Solutions conference, London
EVENT: British Council International Higher Education and the UK reception, London
Thursday July 16th
EVENT: The Herald Higher Education Awards, Glasgow
REPORT: HEFCE higher education business interaction survey
MEETING: Equality Challenge Unit Board
REPORT: OFFA Decisions on access agreements for 2016-17
Friday July 17th
REPORT: ONS UK government expenditure on science, engineering and technology: 2013
Let me know what we missed or what else you'd like to see in the Monday morning briefing. Have a great week.
Are you going to party conferences this year?
I'm planning lots of Wonkhe activity so if you're going, please drop me a line so I can keep you in the loop: email@example.com