More graduates in work – new survey shows

This morning saw the latest publication of the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s (HESA) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey – and the data is encouraging.

Since 2012, when the survey was last conducted, graduate employment rates have increased. The percentage of graduates who are satisfied with their careers and the percentage who reported that higher education prepared them well for their careers have also risen. Moreover, the vast majority of graduates – 81% – are in professional jobs within three and a half years of leaving higher education. It suggests that graduate skills are very much in demand. Continue reading

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The EU and its contribution to the excellence of UK universities

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia outlines how EU funding and collaboration is helping the University produce world-leading research and facilities


The University of East Anglia (UEA) has just opened its new Enterprise Centre on the Norwich Research Park, enabled by a £6m grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Enterprise Centre is opening as the debate over the UK’s continued membership of the European Union develops.  It serves as a timely reminder of how the EU contributes to the excellence of UK universities.

Built predominantly from locally sourced renewable materials, the Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding building that houses the Enterprise Centre is one of the lowest carbon buildings on any university campus in Europe. The Centre will serve to stimulate student enterprise and entrepreneurship and to provide a home for low carbon businesses. Continue reading

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Skilled UK graduates are in demand

A report this week by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) concluded that the majority of UK university graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree and that ‘graduate over-qualification’ has reached ‘saturation point’.

The CIPD suggested that some young people should think carefully about entering higher education when “for example, going into an apprenticeship at 16 or 18 could be a much better choice”.

The report raises some interesting questions, but does not, however, reflect the latest graduate jobs outlook. It does not, either, take into account the reality of how graduates end up in their long-term careers and the lifelong benefits that come with getting a degree. Continue reading

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Clearing 2015: What we’ve learnt so far…

Clearing has now been open for five days and it’s been a busy weekend for everyone involved. In previous years, the majority of changes during Clearing have happened over this first weekend. So, with UCAS having released updated data on Monday morning on who has been placed at university, where and to do what, what changed this year?

As of Monday morning, 452,990 applicants had been accepted to undergraduate courses – an increase of 3% since last year. That means that over two-thirds of applicants have already found a higher education place this year, 83% of them at their first choice university. We’ve also seen the number of students accepted via Clearing increase. By Monday morning over 29,000 applicants had been accepted through clearing, an increase of 6% on the same point in 2014. Continue reading

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Clearing 2015: clearing by numbers (and pictures)

It’s that time of year again… Today Clearing began for all of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (it started in Scotland on 4 August). Clearing is a key part of the admissions process: things really do change during that five week period, when applicants who haven’t already been accepted by a university or college can find a place on another course. Last year 61,300 people found a place through Clearing, whether they applied directly to Clearing or didn’t get a place on a course in UCAS’s main scheme – that’s 12% of all applicants, and the highest number it’s ever been.

This year Clearing will be more important than ever. For the first time since 2009, all English universities will be free to accept as many students as they want (for all bar some clinical and education courses). The data UCAS release in the fortnight following A-level results day will give us the first chance to see what effect this change has had on the numbers of students accepted to universities across the UK.

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The Clearing Track

With A-level results out this week, Nicola Dandridge shares some tips to help students considering opportunities through Clearing.

A-level results day is inevitably surrounded by anxiety, and although many students will received the results they wanted, for others things may not go quite to plan. But this is not a reason to panic as there are a variety of other options available, and one of them is Clearing.

The word ‘Clearing’ sounds rather unattractive, but what it describes represents an extremely positive and constructive way forward for literally tens of thousands of students each year.

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Uncapping student numbers – what it means this year

A-level results come out this Thursday and we’re expecting record numbers of applications and students gaining places. Results day is always significant for the higher education sector, but this year even more so. The total removal of student number controls announced in 2013’s Autumn Statement comes into effect next month, and as a result more institutions than ever will be able to recruit as many full-time undergraduate students as they wish.

The ending of the controls means universities can continue to widen the opportunities for students. The government recognises the importance of widening participation in higher education and want double the proportion of disadvantaged young people to enter university by 2020 than did in 2009. Around the world there is continuing demand for increasing numbers of graduates to equip workforces for an ever more competitive and global high-skill economy which re-confirms the importance of a university education.

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Gender gap in university admissions – a continuing trend?

Now that nearly 25,000 Scottish students have received their results and been given places at university or college, we’re just waiting for A-level results day on 13 August for the culmination of this year’s university admissions cycle. As in previous years, we’re expecting the gap between men and women applying to be big news. Of more than 500,000 students accepted onto higher education courses through UCAS in 2014, over half – 55% of them – were women. The gap between men and women accepted through UCAS has been growing, and in 2014 only a quarter of 18 year old British men got places on undergraduate degrees via UCAS compared to a third of 18 year old women.

This trend looks set to continue in September 2015 as well. Figures released by UCAS on their January deadline this year show that 18 year old women from England were 1.4 times more likely to apply than their male counterparts, and by June nearly 100,000 more women than men had applied through UCAS. Obviously not all applicants are accepted and the final gap is likely to be smaller than this, but the difference is stark.

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The rights & responsibilities of the university sector in the EU referendum debate

Today, Universities UK (UUK) is officially launching Universities for Europe, a campaign on behalf of the higher education sector to highlight how the European Union (EU) helps universities benefit individuals, the economy and society in the UK.

Hosted by UCL, with speeches from Chukka Umunna MP, Rt Hon Damian Green MP, and Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, the Universities for Europe launch signals UUK’s commitment to playing a positive and proactive role in the national debate on the UK’s relationship with the EU over the coming months.

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OU head: Are more students from poorer backgrounds going to university?

The Vice-Chancellor of The Open University looks at the numbers behind claims by the Chancellor in his Budget that more students from poorer backgrounds are going to university.

Standing at the dispatch box to deliver his budget yesterday, the Chancellor made a significant statement about student numbers.  We were told that record numbers of students from low income backgrounds are applying to universities.  I think it’s worth taking a closer look at the figures involved to see what sort of picture they actually paint.

Let’s start with the often-reported claim that the rise in tuition fees has not deterred people from applying to go to university.  This is only true in respect of full-time students.  There has been a 41% decline in undergraduates studying part-time in England over the last five years.  Prior to the rise in tuition fees, the proportion of undergraduates studying part-time in England was one third; it has now fallen to one fifth. Continue reading

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