In response to OFFA’s decisions on 2012-13 access agreements, Libby Hackett, Director of University Alliance said:
“Regardless of OFFA’s decisions on access agreements, Government proposals in the White Paper could have significant consequences for social mobility.
“At a time of major change for students and for universities, issues affecting social mobility have never been more important – this is something we have to get right. The high level of investment into student support and widening participation is a reflection of the commitment of these universities but our greater concern is about the consequences of proposals in the White Paper.
“By allowing universities that take high-performing students to charge £9K, whilst taking places away from the rest of the sector and giving them to low-cost providers, they are creating a shift in public investment towards the high-achieving, high-social class students – this makes no sense for social mobility.
“Surely students with grades just below AAB want to have access to courses that are just as well-resourced as their peers with AAA grades? This doesn’t sound like student choice driving the system. Given the obsession with access into a few elite universities, we often forget that the really life-changing, inspiring stories, often happen elsewhere across the sector. We are pleased to see that University Alliance institutions are above the sector average for the percentage of their income being spent on student support. This is no surprise as they make a huge contribution to social mobility in terms of added value: Alliance universities take a more diverse range of students and give them access to the professions and some of the highest rates of graduate-level employment.
“The proposals in the White Paper, if implemented, will over time drive down resource and quality in the majority of the sector – exactly the part of the sector that is currently delivering social mobility. I really don’t think this is what Government wants at a time when it is our graduates – all of our graduates – that will ensure we are in a position to drive economic growth in the future.”
Notes to Editor
Media contact: Sam Jones, 07767 673 9892
About University Alliance
University Alliance is a group of 23 major, business-engaged universities committed to delivering world-class research and a quality student experience around the UK. They are universities without boundaries: delivering economic and social growth through close links with their research, students and staff and the world around them – locally, nationally and internationally. With representation right across the UK they educate over 25% of all UK students, with large proportions of international and post-graduate students.
Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Teesside University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.