Education committee to assess 'value for money' in higher education

The qualitiy of university teaching and graduate outcomes are to be examined as part of an education committee inquiry. 

The Commons education committee has launched an inquiry into value for money in higher education.

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MPs will examine a number of issues including graduate outcomes, the quality of teaching across institutions, social justice and the progression of disadvantaged students in higher education.

Senior management pay in universities will also be considered.

A Nursing Standard investigation earlier this month revealed that the attrition rate for nursing students in England is 25.1%.

From August this year the government removed bursaries for nursing students in England and replaced them with student loans and tuition fees.

Value for money  

Education committee chair Robert Halfon said: ‘Over recent months there has been increasing public attention on the costs to students and to the taxpayer of higher education. The public scrutiny of vice-chancellor pay has raised wider questions about value for money.

‘In our inquiry we want to examine to what extent the individual student and the taxpayer receives value for money for this considerable financial investment. Do we benefit from increased productivity from successful graduates? Do students see a greater dividend throughout their careers as a consequence of their degree?

‘We want to explore how far our universities are delivering a good quality service for their students and the extent to which the high salaries of vice-chancellors are linked to positive student outcomes.’

Pay disparities

University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said it welcomed the inquiry and said the organisation’s submission will be highlighting the ‘huge disparity in staff and senior pay and also the shockingly high number of lecturers forced onto casual and zero-hours contracts.’

The Commons health committee has launched a separate inquiry into the nursing workforce which will look at the effect of changes to funding arrangements for nurse training, including the withdrawal of bursaries.

The deadline for written submissions to the education committee is October 23.

Further information

Value for money in higher education inquiry

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