CERS’ Higher Education Bulletin, 4th October 2021

Spending Review

Huge economic contribution

Many have published their contribution to the spending review. GuildHE and the Russell Group have also published as have UniversitiesUK.  They state that Universities in England contribute around £95 billionto the economy and support more than 815,000 jobs across England, new findings by Frontier Economics today reveal. In terms of GDP, the higher education sector in England has also grown by around a quarter over 5 years to over £50 billion.  As well as direct employment, universities support these jobs through their purchases of services and goods from other sectors and through employee spending power. Universities also attract substantial numbers of international students, and visitor spending associated with international students runs into the hundreds of millions. Read more.

Free speech

Universities should outright oppose the free speech bill according to Jack Ballingham, the Opportunities Officer at Durham SU.  He argues that the government’s free speech bill is really about muzzling students and academics – and that universities should unreservedly oppose it. Read more.

Other news

Getting out for Europe

THE reports that ever since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, observers have been keeping an eye on data on the movement of academics out of the country to see if there is any evidence of a “Brexit” effect, with EU scholars leaving for universities on the continent. But it seems that concerns about future funding and restricted opportunities have also led to some British academics deciding to take the plunge and move to institutions elsewhere in Europe

Dropping student repayment threshold

The government appears to be on course to reduce the repayment threshold for English student loans, raising fears that it could hit lower-earning graduates the hardest according to the THE.  Apparently the government is considering lowering the salary threshold at which graduates start repaying their tuition fee loans from the current figure of £27,295. 

This is much the same message from Lord Willetts’ new book,.  Boosting higher education while cutting public spending. It is a short read but longer than the contribution might warrant. You may find it of some value: I didn’t, but neither did I enjoy any of his other books!  Perhaps such a review will be stopped under the new Freedom of Speech act. A quote “The so-called ‘bad’ universities are very useful indeed in vocational training and applied research”.  How do you work with that? Read more.

THE has an interesting take on international students.  They explore whether a cutback in numbers will have a negative impact on pedagogy, or if the Covid crisis could give institutions a chance to reset and refocus how they integrate students from abroad. Read more.



AdvanceHE has published a review of the recent literature around employability. This latest instalment of the Connect Benefit series of reports is available to AdvanceHE members. Read more.