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Moving the HE landscape’s quality contours … again

The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.

Government plans mark a seismic shift in higher education policy

Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.

UK universities affirm 'deep commitment' to high quality TNE

Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.

Cassandra calling out higher education

After a week of largely disappointing news for UK higher education, Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University, fears that gloomy forecasts for the future of the sector may prove to be uncomfortably accurate.

Whatuni award winners announced

Loughborough University has been named University of the Year for the second time in three years in the latest Whatuni Student Choice Awards .

UK cities that are best value for graduates revealed in new analysis

Derby -- best city for graduates

New analysis by Prospects reveals which UK cities offer the best value for money for graduates taking their first steps on the career ladder. 

The Universities UK agency responsible for graduate employability analysed the relationship between graduate salaries and the cost of living in 23 UK cities.  

Derby topped the list as offering the best value for a graduate starting salary. This is down to its unusual graduate labour market with many well-paid jobs in engineering and a relatively low cost of living.

Southampton and Coventry also make the top three cities offering best value for new graduates due to their combination of a relatively strong graduate jobs market and affordable living.

Leicester and Liverpool should also be attractive destinations for those seeking value for money as, although starting salaries are among the lowest in the UK, they are relatively inexpensive places to live and therefore the graduate pound goes much further. 

The analysis also found that many of the UK's most popular student cities are among the most expensive for new graduates to start work.

Brighton, London and Oxford offer some of the highest starting salaries, yet new graduates working in those cities will have much lower local purchasing power. Graduates may be on good local salaries, but they will have low disposable incomes due to high living expenses such as rents. 

Charlie Ball, head of higher education intelligence at Prospects, undertook the analysis: "Graduates may need to think carefully about chasing the highest possible salary if it means moving to somewhere with a high cost of living, particularly rents. A graduate may need an extremely attractive offer in London, far above the average salary, for it to be worth them leaving a less expensive labour market. 

"This analysis calls into question the overall value of uncontextualised graduate salaries as a measure of graduate success. Widely available and better quality data on cost of living will improve decision-making. Graduates need to understand where value lies for their degree and whether it is worth remaining in a well-known jobs market on a lower salary or moving for more money where costs are higher. It's a common assumption that the latter choice is always better, but the data strongly suggests that it is not."
 

UK cities ranked by Local Purchasing Power2 (highest to lowest)

1.     Derby
2.     Southampton
3.     Coventry
4.     Leicester
5.     Liverpool
6.     Sheffield
7.     Nottingham
8.     Glasgow
9.     Portsmouth
10.  Bristol
11.  Leeds
12.  Aberdeen
13.  Manchester
14.  Reading
15.  Birmingham
16.  Newcastle upon Tyne
17.  Cardiff
18.  Belfast
19.  Edinburgh
20.  Cambridge
21.  Oxford
22.  London
23.  Brighton

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