University publishes response to Higher Education Reform proposals

May 5th, 2022

The university has today submitted its response to Government following major consultations on funding in Higher Education.

The Department for Education has led consultations into Higher Education Reform – including views on proposals to limit student numbers and change eligibility requirements – and Lifelong Loan Entitlement which will allow students to take out a loan for education to be used across their lifetime.

The university has submitted a formal response to both consultations which reflects the values of our institution and covers the following:

Higher Education Reform

  • The university is not supportive of student number controls as a means of reducing lower quality provision. Instead we point to our own expertise in ensuring students selected are able to successfully complete the course, maximising access to the high stand of education provided at Nottingham.
  • We do not support the introduction of any minimum entry requirements. This, we feel, would have a disproportionate impact on Widening Participation students and does not reflect our core values.
  • We have concern over impact of funding changes on Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. We argue that these degrees emphasise the importance of research skills, synthesising material, reflection, careful construction of arguments, and clear communication – all of which are extremely valuable in most graduate careers. They teach students cultural awareness, flexibility, and adaptability.
  • We stress the importance of retaining funding for foundation years to ensure a high-quality provision.

We emphasise that in looking to make efficiencies, it is unavoidable that the student experience is impacted as well as research activity. We respectfully ask the Government to consider the knock-on effects of limitations to funding now and the short-term savings on society and the economy longer-term in restricting the ambitions of Higher Education.

Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE)

The university is supportive in principle of the concept of LLE but has concerns over eligibility and scope.

We ask Government to;

  • Encourage a model that is broad and not restrictive.
  • Ensure that structures for LLE are consistent with current practice, proportionate, fair and inclusive.
  • Broaden LLE eligibility to cover level 7 (Masters) courses which are currently not within scope.
  • Ensure any credit framework for LLE is consistent with current models and principles.

The Russell Group has submitted its own responses – Higher Education Reform and LLE– on behalf of the sector urging the Government to prioritise long term sustainable funding for higher education to ensure high-quality teaching provision can continue to be responsive to the country’s skills needs.

It estimates that as a result of rising student demand and rapidly increasing costs alongside frozen tuition fees up to 2024/25, the average deficit per UK undergraduate taught is set to more than double from £1,750 in 2021/22 to around £4,000 in 2024/25, with deficits across all subjects.

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