Thinktank’s plans to spread university news to the poor

Bolder measures are required to ensure students from poorer families have access to information about university courses, a thinktank has said.

April 8, 2012

In a report titled Informed Decisions: Tackling Inequalities in Higher Education, CentreForum – which has links to the Liberal Democrats - puts forward a five-point plan to make information more accessible for students, particularly applicants whose families have little experience with the academy.

The recommendations come ahead of the launch of Key Information Sets (KIS) in September, when universities will be required to feature data such as average graduate incomes and employment rates on their websites.

But the report’s author, Gill Wyness, said the government needed to do more to ensure that information reaches those from poor backgrounds, who are generally less aware of the costs, experience and long-term benefits of going to university.

“The government wants to empower students by offering information that will help them make good decisions. We fear that many people will never see this information,” she said.

“Poorer students could be left in the dark.”

Measures to boost the visibility of information about universities could include personalised financial information about the cost of higher education in all child tax credit statements, the report suggests.

“A parent would be presented with guaranteed grant and loan amounts – personalised to their family member – with the option to apply instantly for this funding,” it says.

“If the coalition really wants to give talented young people all the information they need to decide whether to invest in a university degree, it should follow this far bolder approach.”

Other proposals include offering cash incentives to schools that are successful in getting pupils to look at KIS data and the introduction of “automatic enrolment” schemes similar to the system in Texas, where the top 10 per cent of state school students are automatically given university places.

Other interventionist schemes should also be considered, the report adds.

“Perhaps a better alternative would be to provide students with key information at the point of their GCSE results,” it suggests.

“For example, alongside their…results, students who achieved a certain minimum standard…could be given details of the top five universities that those with the same GCSE results are proportionately most likely to go to.”

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate