Updates from UK universities

Industry leaders have called on the UK government to support universities as some higher education institutions have struggled to accommodate record numbers of students after a jump in top A-grade grades.

Health classes were heavily oversubscribed on Wednesday after mass grade inflation led to a squeeze on the most competitive degrees.

Jane Harrington, vice-chancellor of the University of Greenwich, said her biggest concern was the shortage of medical and nursing internships, adding that the government and the NHS should coordinate to increase training opportunities for them. young people in the long term.

“It requires everyone to work together,” she said.

The pressure on places this year has exacerbated existing financial challenges for the sector, which has had to contend with declining per-student fee funding and fears further budget cuts during the fall spending review.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (Ucas) showed that the number of students joining top-level institutions has increased this year, with 20% more school leavers accepting places than 2019.

Dave Phoenix, vice-chancellor of London South Bank University, said health classes were almost full despite being extended this year.

He welcomed a recent increase in government funding for high-cost medical subjects to meet growing demand, but warned that these would be offset by declining value of fees relative to other costs.

“You can try… Increasing abroad [student] numbers or maximize class size, but you can only increase efficiency for so long before it affects things like capital investment or student experience.

Admissions officials have been forced to turn down students who narrowly missed their forecasts, while some universities have rushed to hire additional staff and expand facilities with just six weeks before the start of the term.

Education officials have called on the government to provide generous support to higher education institutions in the face of growing demand for places which is expected to increase over the next decade.

Debra Humphris, vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton, said there was an “extraordinary opportunity” to meet the growing demand for studies, but warned that universities’ ability to meet it was limited, in particularly on courses such as nursing and midwifery where there is a lack of work placements.

As increased enrollment was expected to result in more tuition fees, at £ 9,250 per student, she said universities would still struggle with increasingly tight budgets.

“Tuition fees have been frozen, but personnel costs have not been, pension costs are not frozen, operating costs are not frozen,” added Humphris.

The pressure on places has been felt most strongly by the most competitive universities.

At a top-tier university, about 15 percent more students than expected responded to their offers, a senior teacher said.

On health classes, admission was double that expected, the person at FT said, adding that to cope with the increase, the institution planned to build a new physiology lab.

It would also recruit additional staff and expand mental health facilities, at a cost of around £ 4million, they said.

Paul Blomfield, chair of the all-party parliamentary group for students, said the government should “step up” support for future graduates, including access to specialized facilities and accommodation.

“The government must help universities provide everything they need for an increased number of students – to ensure that there is no reduction in the student experience.”

The Department of Education announced last week that it would release funds for more internships in medicine and dentistry.

He said he was “in development. . . plans to consult on further reforms of the higher education system ”and would focus on improving standards and“ ensuring a sustainable and flexible student funding system ”.

Tim Bradshaw, managing director of the Russell Group of 24 research-intensive universities, said he had “worked hard” to ensure that students are not disadvantaged after grade changes, “by hiring significant numbers additional students “.

But he said the erosion of funding was putting “increasing pressure” on university finances. “To meet additional growing demand and given the importance of high-level skills to the country as it recovers from the pandemic, we urge the government to prioritize long-term sustainable funding for the country. ‘education by student,’ he said.


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