News in brief

October 6, 2011

University of London

V-c leaves to pursue other goals

The vice-chancellor of the University of London has announced he is stepping down just one year into the job. Geoffrey Crossick, who took up the post last September, said he would leave the part-time role in July 2012 because the workload was greater than he expected. He said this had made it hard to "secure the lifestyle benefits I sought through reducing the intensity of my workload" when he left his job as warden of Goldsmiths, University of London. "I have been unable to achieve my plans to have more time to take on other roles in public life, above all in the cultural and higher education sectors," he added. He said he would work with the university to appoint a successor.

Mental health issues

Provision of help 'inadequate'

Mental health problems among students are continuing to rise, and many sufferers could be missing out on help, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In a report published last week - Mental Health of Students in Higher Education - the college recommends that academics and other university staff should be offered training in how to recognise mental health disorders. John Callender, a consultant psychiatrist and chair of the working group that produced the report, said that in many universities "the provision of services has not kept pace with expanding student numbers, leaving existing services overstretched".

Students' living expenses

Income and costs gap widens

Many students face a shortfall of more than £8,000 a year when state support is compared with the cost of living in 2011-12, according to the National Union of Students. For students outside London, the average gap between financial support and costs is £8,037, 10 per cent higher than in 2010-11. The average cost of living for a non-London student for 2011-12 is £16,9, according to the union, while the average income from government-funded loans and grants is £8,242. For students studying and living in London, the corresponding figures are £17,428 and £9,880. This is a shortfall of £7,548 - an 11 per cent increase on last year. Liam Burns, the NUS president, said: "Not enough of the student support is getting into the pockets of students."

Tuition fees

Explanatory day for applicants

Universities, colleges and schools in England will work together on a special Student Finance Day on 14 November in an attempt to better explain the new fee system. A series of talks and events are aimed at helping those applying to enter higher education from September 2012 to understand the system before choosing courses. The organisers include the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information.

White Paper

Chaplains' disquiet at reforms

Forty university chaplains have signed a letter criticising the coalition government's White Paper for seeing higher education in "highly individual" terms. The chaplains say they are "deeply concerned" about the consequences of the reforms and "deeply regret" the omission from the White Paper of the "wider and more fundamental aims for higher education". "University education is said to bring economic benefits, equip individuals for work and raise their expected income. While these aims are good in themselves, in our understanding higher education includes much more," the letter states.

Online now

Last week, the Labour Party outlined plans to cap tuition fees at £6,000 in 2012, £3,000 less than the cap set by the coalition government.

A reader writes: "It is time for all politicians to stop playing political football with the next generation's futures. How is any A-level or GCSE student supposed to make a rational decision about their university education when they have no idea how much debt will be involved? Stop point-scoring, sit down in a multi-party forum and devise a long-term plan together with the universities."

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