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Universities UK response to Universities Minister's speech

​Universities UK responded today to the speech from Universities Minister Jo Johnson on 'delivering value for money for students and taxpayers'.

Responding to the speech, Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said: "The current fee and income-contingent loan system in England has enabled universities to continue to provide students with the world-class education they rightly expect. Overall, student satisfaction levels are very high across all the country's universities, and that is down to the hard work and commitment of university staff.

"While the current system protects those graduates who go on to earn relatively less, with a public subsidy applied to the costs of their education, there is a need to address current concerns about how the writing off of debt is perceived by students and their families. Universities UK wants to ensure the current system is as accessible and as fair as possible.             

"Universities are publishing more information about what universities spend their money on, making sure it is accessible and meaningful to students and parents. A recent survey by ComRes for Universities UK showed that, while students have high levels of trust in their university, they also want more personalised advice and support."

Commenting on plans to develop the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), Dame Julia said: "The planned pilots to run the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) at subject level will be an opportunity to see whether this is feasible and adds value to students. The TEF remains in development and the challenge will be to develop the system to ensure the information is properly communicated and helpful to students in the decision making process. The scheme will be subject to a full, independent review in 2019 to assess whether it is fit for purpose and helping students."

On the planned consultation on student contracts, Dame Julia added: "All universities have contracts with their students. The sector has been responding to the advice of the Competition and Markets Authority to ensure that these are fair and transparent. Students also have avenues of redress both through internal university processes and via the independent adjudicator for higher education and, ultimately, through the courts. It is important that promises made to students are kept and Universities UK will continue to work with government and the Office for Students to ensure that this is the case."​


Notes

  1. Jo Johnson's speech on 'delivering value for money for students and taxpayers' at Reform on Thursday 20 July 2017 is available on the Department for Education website.​

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Steven Jefferies

Steven Jefferies

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Luke Lambert

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Universities UK

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Clara Plackett

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Universities UK

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