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University leaders commit to pension talks as strikes begin

University leaders have written to the University and College Union to formally outline their commitment to continuing to work with UCU to deliver long-term reform of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. The move comes as UCU members at 60 universities begin strike action in disputes over both pensions and pay.

Gateway to university expertise now provides 'smart match' with business

A platform providing a single access point for businesses to university expertise and funding opportunities has been further developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Research England, and UK Research and Innovation, to help 'smart match' business and industry with higher education institutions, in a bid to boost R&D collaboration. Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications at the NCUB, outlines the latest features of Konfer.

Survey pinpoints ways to make postgraduates even more satisfied

Eight out of 10 postgraduate students taking a taught course in the UK report continued satisfaction with the experience over a five-year period.But a survey of more than 70,000 postgraduates across 85 higher education institutions who responded to the Advance HE Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) highlights for the first time areas where institutions could do better still to boost satisfaction levels.

Government should listen to employers on graduate employment

The next government should adopt policies on graduate employment that reflect a less simplistic outlook than the current regime, argues Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers, which has just published its manifesto wish list.

Postgraduate numbers up despite higher undergraduate debt

Students graduating with higher fee debt are not being put off going on to postgraduate study, new data suggests.

Annual HE in England figures, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, are the first to look at postgraduate numbers for students affected by the undergraduate fee reforms in 2012-13.

The report shows record numbers of students – 15,300 - started full-time postgraduate research courses in 2015/16.

Numbers grew by 5.1 per cent in 2015-16 (around 700 entrants) compared with the previous year, following increases of 4.6 per cent in 2014-15 and 4 per cent in 2013-14. It means that numbers are almost 50 per cent higher in 2015-16 than they were in the early 2000s.

The number of UK and other EU students starting part-time postgraduate research courses also increased by 3.7 per cent in 2015-16.

There was a slight decrease in the numbers starting full-time postgraduate taught courses of 0.8 per cent in 2015-16, but numbers have been broadly stable for the past four years. Entry to part-time postgraduate programmes increased for the first time in five years in 2015-16, by 5.7 per cent.

Universities had expressed concerns that students graduating with a big undergraduate debt could be less likely to sign up to further study, and more debt.

But the report said: “The data indicates that these reforms have not so far had a large impact on postgraduate entry.”

The number of international students, who make up almost half of all full-time entrants to postgraduate programmes, fell slightly in 2014-15 by 0.9 per cent to 83,765.

They remain, however, 4.9 per cent (or 3,915 students) higher than in 2010-11.

China remains the single largest market for international postgraduate entry, comprising 25 per cent of entrants into full-time postgraduate taught masters programmes. Numbers increased by 2.4 per cent in 2014/15.

Indian entrants were down by 11 per cent, however, to 5,380 in 2014-15. There were also decreases in the numbers of entrants from Bangladesh (down by 25.8 per cent or 225 students), Pakistan (down by 14.0 per cent or 190 students) and Nigeria (down by 8.1 per cent or 390 students).

belchonock / 123RF
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