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University Alliance Fairness, funding and access Professor Janet Beer April 2010.

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1 University Alliance Fairness, funding and access Professor Janet Beer April 2010

2 Policy and practical issues The power of the dominant narrative Reframing the fair access debate Equality issues IAG – quality not quantity The future landscape including fees

3 Fair access: the dominant narrative Sutton Trust missing 3,000 - high achieving state school pupils that are lost outside the Sutton Trust 13 universities Top universities failing to attract state school pupils The Times June 2009 "Whereas Harvard is all over Harlem, I simply don't see enough of Britain's top universities in Tottenham, and I'm sure the same is true in Toxteth or Peckham. David Lammy Oct 2008 University places 'wasted' as access students drop out Telegraph Jan 2009

4 Fair access: approaches to admissions Consistency Clarity Reliability Bureaucratic Rigid Impersonal Nepotism Chaos Unreliability Inconsistent Flexible Responsiveness Personal Personalised approach (individuals and relationships) Universal approach (rules and systems)

5 Fair access: reframing the debate Selecting and recruiting universities Selecting and recruiting courses Straight A students applying to top universities Straight A students applying to the course that best fits their aspirations Fairness of outcome in admissions Fairness of opportunity (process) in admissions Top universities = top graduate career Some of highest graduate employment rates at UA Top universities = access to professions Alliance universities working with professions – up to 70% of courses accredited

6 What do we mean by fair? Equality of opportunity not outcome e.g. needs blind access Access to good information, advice and guidance for all applicants Context of prior educational attainment

7 Participation determined by educational attainment, not social class

8 Low scoring, high SEC children overtake high scoring, low SEC children by age 6

9 What do we mean by access? Access to what? Course and learning environment with greatest chance of achieving ambitions, goals and access to career or graduate future University experience which equips them for path they want access to Employment ready graduates - leaving university with high quality work experience already on CV Access issues for postgraduates

10 Equality issues and the role of universities Equality Act 2010 –Some public bodies required to pay due regard to the need to reduce inequalities of outcome that result from socio-economic disadvantage –Does not apply to Higher Education What is the role of universities? –Education a driver of social mobility –Focus on early attainment and aspiration (working in partnership with schools)

11 The missing link: information, advice and guidance Focus on information – –Work of the Teaching Quality Information / National Student Survey Steering Group –HEFCE work on the information needs of prospective students But, good advice and guidance also essential –Role of Government: DCSF IAG Strategy IAG Guarantee, focus on role of local government –Central AG possibilities limited? UCAS? –Role of Universities: working with schools

12 The impact of fees: so far No negative impact on full-time participation But misunderstanding / myths are causing more of a barrier than the system itself Attainment, not cost, remains the strongest determinant of participation (but upfront cost does matter) False distinction between full-time and high-intensity part-time High cost of student support has forced a cap on student numbers – possible impact on access

13 The impact of fees: the future? Negative scenarioMitigated by… Misunderstandings exacerbated by higher fees and further complexity for students Change the language to graduate contribution A single system of grants and loans to meet living costs Student choices skewed based on price Better information, advice and guidance Contribution and future investment instead of fees and debt Value of positional good vs. actual value Regulation to prevent too big a gap Student places further restricted Introduce a fully self-funded system to reduce cost to government and allow further expansion of the system

14 Future landscape Fees and student finance – Independent review IAG requirements / standards of transparency Moving beyond artificial full-time / part-time divide Flexibility of provision and local access Equality legislation Postgraduate access Private providers

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