13 March 2013
Grants & Loans to Rise Just 1%, Threat to UK Unis, Struggling Unis Remain Anonymous
The Online Threat to UK Universities
A report into the future of higher education claims that British Universities are failing to react to the threat of online education. According to the report, global, online courses are the future of education, and some of the complacent, middling UK institutions may not survive.
Sir Michael Barber, the chief adviser for Pearson, claims that too many universities are doing the same thing and that online courses could be both a threat and an opportunity for UK universities.
Our Take: If online courses are cheaper, ran better, and the teaching is better, why shouldn’t they replace some institutions? Successful universities shouldn’t have to fear losing students, their reputation should mean they keep attracting applicants. But we shouldn’t mourn the loss of universities that aren’t offering value to students, or that fail to evolve.
Struggling Universities to Remain Anonymous
Starting this year, UCAS are withholding their information for the number of applications to individual institutions. The data was going to be released after the application deadline in January, however UCAS changed their mind on their usually policy because of ‘potential volatility in supply and demand.
However, some have speculated that UCAS have not revealed the statistics because of pressure to protect struggling universities that have recorded huge drops in applications for two years running. There are fears that revealing which institutions are struggling might make the wider public, and other potential students lose faith in that university.
Our Take: Wanting to protect universities is admirable, but surely UCAS has a higher responsibility to potential students using the service? When every aspect of a university is scrutinised, the most important information (Is this university stable?) should be the first thing that people look at it.
Card Fraud Increases due to Scams
Thieves using distraction techniques to steal money at cash machines, shops and bars has lead to rise in card fraud. The total loss on card fraud for 2012 was £388m, a rise of 14% from the previous year.
Our Take: Money is hard to come by out in the real world, and thieves don’t need much encouraging to take your money. When you’re going to the cash machine make sure you’re aware of any suspicious activity around you. And we really don’t need to tell you this, but don’t give your bank details to African princes who have found you via email. Here are our tips on scams to watch out for.
Grants and Loans to Rise By Just 1%
The government has said that maintenance loans and grants for students in England will rise by just 1% in 2014-2015, below the rate of inflation anticipated for the UK economy.
Our Take: At first glance, a rise in grants and loans seems like a good thing, we all want more money right? The thing is, because this rise is less than the rate at which prices are expected to rise, it is actually more of a cut in terms of support. This only widens the gap between the amount of support available and the cost of living for students. Check out our article for a better look at what students are spending their money on.
University Charity Event Flops
De Montford University in Leicester spent £22000 on a charity flash mob which only raised £5000. The university has defended the event, for which they bought a £15000 PA system as well as £1500, saying that the event increased the profile of the university and applications rose as a result.
Our Take: Well this is all kinds of wrong, cynically exploiting charity to raise the institution’s profile, spending way too much on a frivolous event that didn’t even make more than it cost. The video is pretty funny though.
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