2012年5月17日 星期四

英國大學究竟有多貴?Fees rise 'didn't boost teaching' U. K. Universities will have a "race to the bottom"

Fees rise 'didn't boost teaching'

Higher university tuition fees have not boosted teaching time at England's universities, research suggests.

A race to the bottom is a socio-economic concept that is argued to occur between countries as an outcome of regulatory competition, progressive taxation policies and social welfare spending. When competition becomes fierce between nations over a particular area of trade and production, countries are given increased incentive to dismantle currently existing regulatory standards.
A race to the bottom may also occur within a country (such as between businesses, states or counties), but, in theory, this should occur less frequently, because the central government has recourse to enact legislation slowing or halting the race before its effects become too pervasive.


Universities will have to bid for a quarter of places

Willetts promises to put students "in the driving seat"
Universities in England will have to compete against each other and private providers for a quarter of their student places.
Universities Minister David Willetts has published plans to increase market forces in higher education in England.
Promising to put "students in the driving seat", he also announced there would be 20,000 places reserved for degrees with fees of less than £7,500.
Labour's Gareth Thomas said the plans meant a "race to the bottom".
The shadow universities minister told MPs that this was a "desperate drive to cut fees, no matter what the cost to quality".
The controversial plan to create extra places for privately-funded individuals has also resurfaced - on the basis that it will be restricted to those sponsored by a business or a charity.
There are also proposals to allow students to repay their loans early, although the government is still consulting on the detail.
This is a politically sensitive suggestion which raises the prospect of better-off students not paying as much as those who pay back their loans over several decades.
Private providers
Mr Willetts said the reform package would "open up the system" and "put power where it belongs - in the hands of students".


The market economy in higher education will mean students have to be treated as valued customers. Because, after all, they're paying the bill.
But is the "customer is always right" the best starting point for a university system?
University leaders have raised concerns about instilling instability rather than competitive energy.
If a subject falls out of fashion for a couple of years, should be it be abandoned?
Rather than wanting to compete for extra places, some university leaders talk privately about retreating to a smaller number of subject areas where they know they can attract a reliable number of students.
It's a move from the supermarket to the boutique.
And universities want to be places of ideas, ideals and academic excellence, but they also need to attract young people willing and able to pay up to £9,000 per year.
Are they going to be trading in lifestyle and leisure experiences as much as the old-fashioned currency of learning?
This White Paper promises to put the students into the driving seat of higher education - but it can't control where they are going to take it.
The White Paper, called Students at the Heart of the System, details plans to make universities bid for a proportion of their places - a higher proportion than had been anticipated.
This raises the prospect that while some universities will expand, others will lose student places.
Mr Willetts said that no government could offer a guarantee that courses or even institutions might not close as a result.
This proportion of universities bidding for places is "just the start", said Mr Willetts. "We want to extend the system so more places are contestable."
From 2012, universities will be able to offer unlimited places for students achieving AAB grades at A-level or better - regardless of the total student quotas they have been allocated.
This will encourage top universities to compete for the 65,000 students each year who attain these grades.
There will also be 20,000 places allocated on the basis of "good quality" and "value for money" at institutions charging an average of £7,500 or less per year.
Since a high proportion of universities have announced fees above this level, these places could be taken by an expanded private sector or courses provided through further education colleges.
Sir Steve Smith, president of the vice-chancellors' body Universities UK, warned that this "must not undermine the quality of the higher education system".
University title
In terms of improving social mobility, there had been discussion of changing the admissions system to allow applications after students knew their exam results - which previous official reports had recommended as fairer.


  • Universities to compete for 65,000 places for pupils with AAB grades at A-level
  • 20,000 places reserved for degrees with fees of £7,500 or less
  • Universities will have to publish information about students' employment chances and salaries
  • Inspections triggered if concerns raised about teaching standards
  • Student charter setting out consumer rights
  • Wider role for private sector colleges and partnerships
  • Fewer restrictions on "university" title
  • Considering options on early loan repayments
But a decision on this - so-called "post qualification application" - will not be considered until a review reports back next year.
The White Paper also promises to reduce barriers to private providers entering higher education.
This includes a review of the use of the term "university" as a title.
And there will be an emphasis on improving the information available to students.
Last week the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced that universities would have to publish key information about courses, such as the average salary of former students, the cost of accommodation, teaching hours and satisfaction ratings from previous students.
There will also be plans for inspections to be triggered if there are concerns about the quality of courses or teaching standards.
'Potential chaos'
But students were unimpressed.
Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students said: "Fees have been tripled and students have been exposed to the potential chaos of the market and yet there are still no concrete proposals for how quality, accountability and access will be improved."
University change will lead to higher drop out rate in England says Labour
Lecturers also attacked the proposals as an attempt by the government to recover from having lost control of fee levels.
"Trying to force down the cost of a degree after the government got its sums wrong will not solve the funding crisis it created," said Sally Hunt, leader of the University and College Union.
Professor Les Ebdon, chair of university think-tank Million+ said there was no evidence that competition would improve the student experience.
"A mini-market in 'AAB' students could favour students from independent schools and actually constrain a university's ability to widen access," he said.
Dr Wendy Piatt, of the Russell Group of leading universities, said she agreed that universities with high demand for courses from highly-qualified students should be allowed to expand.
But she warned that "such a very selective" lifting of the places cap could make it harder for some universities to maintain teaching in strategically important subjects like sciences and languages.
Professor Paul Welling, of the 1994 group of research intensive universities, said the government needed to avoid driving down standards by auctioning students to low cost institutions.
"We should not encourage higher education providers to short change students by cutting corners."
Competition on price will not affect Scottish students in Scotland's universities where there are no tuition fees. In Wales there are plans for Welsh students at Welsh universities to receive a subsidy covering increased tuition fees.
A decision on tuition fees and support for students at Northern Ireland's universities is expected in the autumn.

The UK university that’s open to cash strapped students

From next year, British universities will be able to charge tuition fees of around 11,000 euros a year. That's more than triple the amount they're currently allowed to charge.

This move towards what's seen as a more US-style model of college funding started about 5 years ago with the introduction of much lower tuition fees. But with students not used to the idea of racking up debts before the age of 21, many have turned to other alternatives. One distance learning university that turned 40 last year has seen a large increase in the number of younger students. Nik Martin reports from Milton Keynes.

rack up
Accumulate or score, as in Last night's episode of that new sitcom racked up at least fifteen points in the ratings. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]

英國議會上周四投票通過提高英格蘭大學學費(tuition fee)上限(top level)的議案,未來學費究竟有多貴呢?




由地方政府撥款的幫助學生吃住費用的生活補助金(maintenance grants)仍將持續。
部分生活津貼(partial grants)的發放對象標準也從來自年收入為50,020英鎊的家庭改為4,2000英鎊。
對於那些一直享受免費學校午餐(free school meal)的貧困學生,政府還有更多的優惠政策,包括為他們支付多達兩年的大學學費。