Friday, 2 December 2011

The updated Access Agreements

I've already posted on the institutions which have revised their Access Agreements. OFFA have now published additional details, including the names of the institutions in question. The list isn't a very surprising one. What interests me is the mix of the changes implemented.

  • an increase of £37.4m in fee waivers;
  • a reduction of £13.8m in bursaries and scholarships;
  • a reduction of £2.1m in outreach and retention measures; and
  • a reduction of £16.3m in headline fees.
These figures show quite clearly that reducing the price to Government - fees less waivers - has been the key driver here. A £53.7 million saving for the Government has been funded partly from £15.9 million less in outreach, scholarships and bursaries. In other words nearly a third of the saving has been taken straight out of students' pockets. The rest will have to be made up of larger class sizes and the like.

It may be that the market will prefer these slightly cheaper offerings. Leeds Trinity may now seem better value than Leeds Met, likewise London South Bank may seem better value than East London. But this is sheer speculation: there is no actual market process at work here. This is a point made earlier today by William Cullerne Browne, but (and I say this entirely without false modesty) six months ago by me.

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