Select Committee on Education and Employment Minutes of Evidence



MEMORANDUM FROM THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS (HE 123)

INTRODUCTION

  NUS welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Education and Employment Select Committee's enquiry into retention in higher education.

  The National Union of Students represents three million students in further and higher education in England and Wales. Issues of welfare, access and the related issue of retention are of central concern to NUS.

NUS' role

  NUS supports individual members via the welfare support services at local student unions and through casework at NUS headquarters.[1] On a national level, NUS campaigns on policies affecting welfare and student funding, which play a major role both in the decision to enter higher education and in the decision to remain in higher education.

  NUS' response therefore focuses on two broad issues, that of student finance and that of student support.

STUDENT FUNDING

  ". . . the current financial system for full-time higher education students is ineffective, insufficient and administratively complicated."[2]

  Financial considerations are a key element in decisions to withdraw from university. Professor Mantz Yorke (1997)[3] found that financial considerations often combined with other difficulties to ensure that students could not remain in higher education. The DfEE's own figures put the drop-out rate at 20 per cent[4] and the 1998-9 Student Income and Expenditure Survey, conducted by Professor Claire Callender, highlights financial difficulties as a key motivation for those students considering dropping out: ". . . financial reasons were cited most often by all students".[5]

  The NUS Student Hardship Survey (1999) showed that a third of full-time undergraduates considered dropping out of studies at least occasionally. For those students, financial difficulties had been a strong factor, at 34.4 per cent.[6]

  NUS research and the research of others has shown that the financial position of students is worsening. The preliminary negative effects of the new funding arrangements on access have been noted by recent NUS research and through casework. Given the link between finance and non-completion, the effect on retention in higher education is likely to follow the same pattern.

KEY DIFFICULTIES

Increasing financial pressures

  The 1999 NUS Student Hardship Survey pointed to increasing financial difficulties for students in higher education. Whilst the average maintenance package for a student living away from home (outside London) was £3,540 per year, average accommodation costs were £44.98 per week, leaving the student with £23.10 per week to pay for bills, food, clothes, books and travel. In the same year the Job Seeker's Allowance paid £39.85 per week, in addition to providing housing benefit.

  Students' unions throughout England and Wales have noted the financial difficulties encountered by students as a result of the withdrawal of maintenance grants and the inadequacy of access and bursary funds in making up the shortfall. Increasingly, students are finding that the financial cost of higher education is too much to bear. For some this means that entering higher education is not a valid option, for others the costs incurred ensures that continuing a university education is simply not viable.

  The Student Income and Expenditure Survey,[7] though completed before the impact of the withdrawal of grants points to a worrying degree of student debt. Ancillary costs (such as housing, course expenses and travel), as has been consistently noted by NUS, are rising. When combined with the burden of paying tuition fees (but when still able to receive a grant), at the end of the academic year, student debt trebled between 1995-6 and 1998-9:

  "Since 1995-6, more full-time students have got more heavily into debt, owing considerably larger sums of money, to a broader range of creditors."[8]

  This trend is likely to become more severe when the effect of the withdrawal of grants is factored in.

Participation Costs

  Though often represented as a "middle-class" or high socio-economic status expense, it is often the student who bears the cost of tuition fees:

  The Student Income and Expenditure found that:

    —  20 per cent of students whose parents had been assessed to make a contribution towards fees had a shortfall of £579 per year;

    —  10 per cent of first year undergraduates personally contributed an average of £803 towards their fees.[9]

  Furthermore, the survey found that students tended to finance fees through funds intended exclusively for maintenance provision (ie a student loan or maintenance grant which is already insufficient to cover living costs). This accords with an increasing number of NUS cases where students are relying on maintenance funds to repay debts to higher education institutions. Indeed, in some cases students have been denied hardship funds where they intend to use them to settle outstanding debts with higher education institutions (HEIs). The management boards of several HEIs including some of the "access" universities in London, and the University of Central England, have experienced an increasing percentage of students in arrears.

  Students on high cost courses (for example architecture, art and design) are not given extra funding to meet essential course costs. However, students often underestimate the costs associated with study. Universities UK research found that those most likely to underestimate the costs were students over 25, Black students and those with a family history of higher education.[10] All such extra participation costs, if unplanned, may make the financial strain of full-time study impractical for students with no financial safety net.

Discretionary funding

  "I'm dreading the day very soon when I am going to have to tell a student who is in trouble that there is no money there for them to access."[11]

  The DfEE's review of Hardship Loans and Access Funds (HLAF) in 1999-2000 was welcomed by NUS, in recognition that discretionary funding through Access Funds was not operating effectively to aid either access or retention. Institutions, faced with overwhelming demand for the funds, were not able to give the level of funding requested by students to meet their hardship needs, particularly in the form of grant-based bursaries. The problem is widespread and has been noted by many student unions' welfare officers:

  "I know that most institutions are faced with the imminent exhaustion of hardship funds but when I directed this concern towards a representative of the DfEE, the reply that I received was that our criteria for award of funds need to be more stringent. We already expect applicants to be holding a part time job (unless they are a final year student) and to have previously applied for the Student Loans Company's Hardship Loan. Is that not stringent enough? More and more students are having to rely on these funds to survive, and without them, drop out rates are bound to increase even more."[12]

  The 2000-01 provision of grant-based funding through Mature Student Bursaries (aimed at students with dependants who have child-related costs) and the forthcoming 2000-2001 provision through statutory Childcare Grants (for registered childcare), discretionary Access Bursaries (for child-related costs, not including registered childcare) and discretionary Opportunity Bursaries (for young talented low income students) is welcomed by NUS. However, careful evaluation of this funding is needed to ascertain whether a discretionary basis for allocating these funds will aid retention. NUS is concerned that without a statutory guaranteed entitlement to additional grant-based funds, students are still unable to plan budgets effectively for the duration of their whole course, as opposed to for one year only. The consequences for retention of being unable to confidently financially plan for the duration of a course needs to be looked into.

  As a result of the nature and frequency of provisions, the current system of student support is disjointed. Although there have been attempts to address the shortfall in support for certain groups, this has not been matched by a review of related issues, such as benefits. Therefore, in addition to being inadequate and often discretionary, some students are finding that one source of funds is in conflict with another.

Students at work

  The NUS Student Hardship Survey (1999) found that 42 per cent of full-time students in HE work part-time during term time. Increasing numbers of students are finding that, as a result of hardship, they have no alternative but to undertake paid work during term-time.

  The shift from grant to loan-based funding has been accompanied by an increased reliance on paid work. Under the current system, the level of loan provided in the final year of study is less than in the preceeding year. This is on the basis that loans in this year do not need to cover the summer vacation. However, most students, especially those in London, use their full loan provision during term-time and work to support themselves during vacations. The current system forces students to work during the most critical year of their academic studies:

  "I was forced to work the most hours per week at the end of my third year, when revision for my exams should have been my priority".[13]

  The NUS Students at Work Survey (1999) found that difficulties in balancing work and study time resulted in 59 per cent finding that work affected their studies. Furthermore, 38 per cent had missed lectures as a result of working, with 21 per cent failing to submit coursework. Excessive paid work has the dual effect of increasing stress, exacerbated by reduced time spent on non-academic activities, and interfering with academic study and timetables.

  Work pressures often lead to the inability to fulfil academic commitments and stress, factors that feed into decisions to discontinue studies. As a result of the increase both in hours worked and increasing numbers of students with no alternative but to work, the quality of academic work and the well being of students are being eroded. The NUS Students and Work Survey (1999) concluded that:

  "The hours of work needed to sustain themselves financially is eating into student time and increasing students' feeling of stress and tiredness."

  NUS recognises the need to work during term-time, but recommends a limit of 10-12 hours per week. The NUS recommendation is based on research from the University of Paisley suggesting the maximum limit of work per week before academic study is adversely affected:

  "Working in excess of 10 hours per week was significantly related to a perceived negative impact on attendance, coursework and exam performance".[14]

  The Independent Committee of Inquiry into Student Finance Report (1999) (Cubie Report) found that part-time work is more likely among students from low socio-economic groups, who tend to be more "debt averse" if support is entirely in the form of loans. Furthermore, the report stated that increased hours of work are less likely if support is targeted towards students from low-income backgrounds in the form of non-repayable grants.

  Given the increasing levels of debt among students, the aim of increasing and sustaining participation among low-income students, and the detrimental effects linked to increased hours of work during term-time, NUS recommends that the current system of support, specifically for those from low socio-economic backgrounds, be investigated, with a view to providing non-discretionary targeted support.

Students and benefits

  "The current system does not seem to be in anyone's interest. . . as it is needlessly complicated and understood by very few people, including (or especially) official agencies".[15]

  "In the summer vacation 2000 the Advice Centre received an increase in enquiries of 37 per cent compared to summer 1999. However, enquiries regarding financial issues increased by 59 per cent and, within this, enquiries relating to welfare benefits increased by 334 per cent".[16]

  Most full-time students are ineligible for social security benefits. The exception to the rule are lone parents, student couples with dependent children (during the long vacation only) and students with disabilities. These are among the most vulnerable students in higher education, and they often find the transition from full benefit entitlement to student debt the hardest. Indeed, the Institute for Policy Studies in education recently noted that single mothers and students previously on benefits were "particularly at risk".[17]

  Some specific difficulties have arisen concerning student loans and welfare benefits. Under current regulations, loans are deemed by the Benefits Agency and local authorities to count in assessments of income. When student loans or hardship funds are included in assessment for Housing Benefit, Income Support and Council Tax Benefit, the amount received is significantly diminished, despite the fact that loans must be repaid. Paradoxically, loan repayments are not counted in calculations for benefit entitlement once the student is no longer in the higher education system (due to graduation or non-completion). The problem has become an important issue for many students on a low income, often with dependants; many students' unions have identified the situation as comprising a major part of welfare casework in the 2000-01 academic year. The current system lacks a comprehensive recognition of the situation of students relying on benefits and is also highly complex:

  ". . . the regulations which affect students' entitlement to state benefits are complex and confusing to students".[18]

  There is currently a policy discrepancy between the DfEE and DSS in the treatment of student income:

  "It is clear that there has been little liaison between Income Support/Job Seeker Allowance and Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit and the Tax Credits policy staff, let alone with the DfEE".[19]

  Whilst the DfEE currently treats the loan as a 52 week income, the DSS treats it as income over three academic quarters, leading to confusion and further difficulties in budgeting. More specifically, the treatment of student income over academic quarters that do not fit in with the actual study period means that students are likely to be without any source of income between 1 September and the actual resumption of their course. This is due to the fact that the loan is regarded as "income", despite the fact that students cannot access their loan until the actual start of their term.

  This situation is particularly problematic for lone parents, who may lose a substantial proportion of income from benefits, including Housing Benefits. The consequent financial difficulties compound problems, such as time management and child-care, making it increasingly challenging to remain in higher education:

  ". . . a single parent on benefits will have had a relatively `stable' financial position and budgeted according to the payment of their benefits on a regular basis. When they become a student they are faced with a multitude of agencies, regulations and assessments to access their entitlements. . . it's a huge challenge trying to get entitlements sorted, but then having to deal with different payment dates makes it even worse. Anyone who can smoothly readjust their budgeting effectively deserves a degree!".[20]

  Annex A[21] is a paper submitted by NUS, the National Association of Students Money Advisers (NASMA) and the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE) to the DfEE for the Interdepartmental Group (DfEE, Inland Revenue, DSS and DoH), which outlines some of the specific problems in this area.

Case Study

  Karen, 30, is an Industrial Relations undergraduate at a London college. Although Karen is currently in her second year of academic study, she is in her third year at her institution, having had her studies interrupted due to illness. She has been independent of her family since the age of 17 and until she became ill she had never applied for welfare benefits.

  "I was made homeless at the beginning of lent term due to non-payment of rent caused by maladministration of my Housing Benefit claim. My local authority were only able to offer me hostel accommodation, which quite naturally I didn't wish to accept. I was informed that the illness from which I suffer was not sufficiently severe to warrant a council property but should it worsen they would reconsider my application. . .

  The NUS advice centre managed to arrange for me to be housed as an emergency/priority in halls of residence, for which I am incredibly thankful. This has now caused another problem: hall fees take up almost my entire student loan, and my only other income is Incapacity Benefit. Halls must be vacated for three months over the summer and I will not now, as a student in receipt of loans, be eligible for Housing Benefit."

  ". . . the service that I have received from the student union advice centre has been essential to the continuation of my studies and I would be living in a hostel barely surviving on benefits if it were not for the involvement of these individuals".

VULNERABLE GROUPS

Students from low socio-economic backgrounds

  Previous research has found that students from low-income groups are more likely to withdraw from higher education on the basis of financial difficulties than students from more privileged backgrounds. Professor Mantz Yorke's 1997 study of non-completion clearly demonstrated that working class students were the key group reporting the influence of financial difficulties in their decision to abandon academic study. A recent occasional paper from the Institute for Policy Studies in Education also pointed to the centrality of finance as an issue for working class students who fail to complete.[22]

  Students from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds, often without emergency funds to call upon and unable to rely on financial assistance from families, are the most likely to be affected by increasing levels of debt. Furthermore, working class students tend to be "debt averse" and are therefore more likely than those from higher income groups to work during term-time to support themselves. Tuition fees have been introduced subsequent to the most recent studies, and, most importantly, maintenance grants have been withdrawn. NUS expects rates of non-completion to increase due to the new funding arrangements and increased hardship; NUS also expects that financial difficulties will play a greater role in all decisions to withdraw.

  The DfEE Student Income and Expenditure Survey found that increases in expenditure have been afforded by borrowing amongst younger students and the use of savings amongst older students. When the withdrawal of grants takes effect, at best borrowings for all students will escalate, increasing the investment risk of higher education. For those vulnerable students who do take on the cost of a university education, the financial pressures throughout their academic career may become insupportable, especially for those from low socio-economic groups and lone parents who have no contingency funds to call upon.

  According to the NUS Student Hardship Survey (1999), conducted in the transition year from means-tested grants to means-tested loans, a significant proportion (47.5 per cent) of respondents felt that financial difficulties had adversely affected their performance in their studies. For full-time undergraduates, worry and stress featured as their main problem (36.3 per cent citing this as a factor), with 28.2 per cent claiming difficulties in buying books, and 27.9 per cent claiming that paid work interfered with their academic studies.

Students with dependants

  As Professor Yorke notes, mature students are often better equipped to deal with the commitments of academic study and have a clearer idea of what their chosen degree demands. Decisions to not complete academic study therefore tend to be related to external difficulties or commitments.

  Lone parents are key pressure points in higher education, most recently noted in the SIES:

  "In 1995-6 lone parents exhibited the highest levels of financial strain compared with other student groups. In 1998-9 they were also the most vulnerable financially because they had no contingency funds whatsoever to call upon. . . they had no savings but all of them had debts."[23]

  Professor Callender has found that lone parents studying full-time spent an average of £1,457 on childcare, compared with only a third of that figure (£532) paid by married or co-habiting students.

  Lone parents face a combination of pressures, experiencing more difficulties in achieving a successful balance between study and care commitments, and with greater financial demands due to dependants. Frequently struggling with a tight budget prior to entering higher education, the conversion to student status is a source of immense strain, as observed by one student advisor in an NUS consultation on behalf of the DfEE (included in Annex A):

  "The transition from benefits to student funding for many lone parents is a difficult time and most claim to be worse off due to the hidden costs and irregularity of payments. . . "[24]

Intercalating Students

  In a consultation of student advisors conducted by NUS on behalf of the DfEE, the most commonly criticised student funding gap that left students most vulnerable to non-completion was accessing any entitlement to income for many students who are intercalating (ie those full-time students who have to suspend their studies due to illness, pregnancy, financial reasons, personal commitments etc). The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) highlighted this issue in its report on the draft Social Security Amendment (Students) Regulations 2000.[25] The government did not include the SSAC's recommendation on extending statutory entitlement to support to all intercalating students in its amended regulations.

  Currently, under the Education (Student Support) Regulations, the only guarantee of income is for students who are ill for the first 60 days.[26] There have been recent concessions on entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit entitlement for students who have been ill or caring and are waiting to return to their studies,[27] in addition to Income Support entitlement for students who have been ill for 28 weeks or more (providing they can supply acceptable medical certification).[28] However, these concessions cease at the beginning of the academic year, which may cause a funding gap for students who have to return to their course mid-year.

  Students who intercalate for any other reason, such as pregnancy, personal problems, intermittent mental illness and so on, have no entitlement to either student support or to social security benefits. Also for students who are ill after 60 days and before the end of 28 weeks, and for students who have caring responsibilities, there is also no entitlement to support during these periods of suspended study. These students are left to the discretion of their LEA to extend their support period or to the discretion of their institution to provide Access or Hardship Funds.

  Non-availability of support for many full-time students who suspend their studies has led to financial hardship and potential abandonment of studies. For the majority of intercalating students, it is not possible to support themselves through paid work, therefore, as the Social Security Advisory Committee commented, the current arrangements,

  ". . . reinforce a policy which causes hardship, affects the least well-off students most severely and leads to the abandonment of courses and is thus contrary to the Government's policy on HE".[29]

  The current gap in provision between the DfEE and the DSS works against the government's overall intention to minimise non-completion.

STUDENT SUPPORT

  Inextricably linked to finance issues, supporting students throughout their academic careers is vital to ensuring that students complete their studies. NUS offers a comprehensive support network to ensure that academic goals are not eroded by other considerations, but this support needs to complemented by the government and higher education institutions.

  Whilst aiding students on issues of welfare and caseworking, NUS has noted two points:

      (a)  Support structures for students provided by HEIs tend to vary from institution to institution and are often under-funded;

      (b)  In addition to relying on students' unions for advice and assistance on legal matters, finance, counselling, and issues of accommodation etc, in terms of academic structures and related issues (such as workload and related issues such as stress), students often rely on academic staff as a source of informal support.

  In terms of the formal support structures provided by HEIs, there needs to be more comprehensive and better provision, which explicitly recognises diversity within the student population. Currently, in contrast to regulations in further education, HEIs are not penalised when they lose students, and funding is not recouped by HEFCE on the basis of an institution's drop-out rate.

Role of Staff

  The role of academic staff as informal "intermediaries" between students and academic structures is being eroded by current inadequacies in pay and conditions. The casualisation of academic staff and the use of postgraduate and part-time staff in teaching capacities as a result of inadequate pay, has led to fewer avenues of advice and support for students. Where academic staff are underpaid and conditions are unacceptable, staff are unable to act as extra-curricular support networks for students.

  Increases in staff have not occurred at the same rate as increases in student numbers. As a consequence, classes tend to be larger and contact time with students is significantly reduced, preventing staff from carrying out their traditional role of pastoral care.

  Casualisation, entailing the payment of staff at hourly rates, purely for teaching duties, means that the ability to deal with students' queries and problems are further reduced.

  Professor Yorke's study shows that, of the 61 per cent of students who had sought advice from institutions, academic staff were approached the most often, approximately twice as frequently as the institutions' support services:

  "These results indicate the abiding importance of the staff-student relationship at a time when. . . the pastoral aspect of the academic's role was under threat."[30]

  In order to ensure that the valuable resources and pastoral care offered by staff continues, the current system, under which staff are demotivated, overworked, and unable to answer the demands of all students, needs to be addressed.

Access

  "It is recognised that once within higher education without suitable guidance the degree potential of many disadvantaged students may be unable to fully develop".[31]

  The Government's Excellence Challenge document set out plans for widening access in higher education, in line with the aim to increase participation to 50 per cent among the under 30s. Though NUS applauds this move, there needs to be a better means of monitoring and supporting all students, especially those traditionally under-represented in HE. There needs to be comprehensive support systems, in addition to proper student funding arrangements, to ensure that any students encouraged to participate in HE do not encounter unacceptable or insurmountable barriers whilst at university.

  NUS has already found that, since the introduction of the new funding arrangements, access has become more restricted, with the numbers of Black African and Caribbean male applicants falling by 4.2 per cent and mature applicants falling by 14.2 per cent.[32] Restricted funds and increased costs, combined with inadequacies in welfare support and advice offered by HEIs are likely once again to affect minority groups in HE the most severely.

  NUS casework points to under-represented groups being the most in need of support throughout their academic careers. As explained above, support tends to be provided informally by academic staff rather than formally by the HEI. In order to reflect the aspirations for diversity in the student population, this needs to be reflected in equality for staff. NUS supports the recommendations of the Bett Report to ensure equal treatment for staff.

Pre-entry information and advice

  The period prior to entry and the induction period are crucial for non-traditional students , when guidance and support are essential to prevent students from withdrawing. Ozga and Sukhanandan's study of non-completing students showed that 49 per cent of 1,300 non-completers withdrew between the months of August and January. [33]Professor Yorke's study shows that students who are better prepared for higher education study are more likely to complete courses. Adequate information about finances, workloads, course costs and forms of assessment prior to entry play a key role in the preparedness of students for academic study and university life.

  The responsibility of HEIs in providing pre-entry information and clear guidance throughout the term of study is clear. Professor Yorke recommends that HEIs should review their system of student support to maximise completion potential. However, some institutions are failing to provide even the most basic advice. A key example of this shortfall is the information provided about hidden course costs, the case study below highlights this problem:

Hidden course costs at 'X' University
1.£100 registration and facilities (over and above HND fees)—HND Forestry
2.£30 "bench fees" : Pharmacy, Biology and Chemistry students - there is no information on exactly what these fees cover, despite the students' union and students seeking clarification from departments and the institution.
3.£50 workshop fees introduced without warning to third year students: Interior Architecture.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1.   Increased costs of higher education

  NUS recommends that those who participate in HE contribute towards tuition costs when they are in a position to do so, and once their income demonstrates that they have benefited from their investment in higher education, through a system of graduate contributions, such as those recommended by the Cubie Report.

  2.   Low income students/students at work

  NUS has noted the vulnerability of students from low-income backgrounds and the increased likelihood of those students undertaking paid work which is detrimental to their studies. We therefore recommend that the current system of support, specifically in relation to those from low socio-economic groups, be investigated, with a view to providing non-discretionary targeted grants to minimise financial pressures and to minimise the number of hours that such students need to work in order to support themselves.

  3.   Loans

  The lower loan entitlement in the final year of study is based on inaccurate assumptions on the way students utilise such funds (ie most students use entire funds during term-time, whilst working to support themselves during vacations). NUS recommends that loan provision in the final year of study needs to equal that of previous years, in order to minimise negative effects at such a crucial period of academic study. In addition, the London rate of loan provision needs to be extended to other high-cost areas such as the South-East of England.

  4.   Discretionary funding

  NUS recommends an evaluation of the effectiveness of discretionary funding in aiding retention, especially in terms of the most vulnerable groups (those from low-income backgrounds, students with dependants and mature students).

  5.   Intercalating Students

  There needs to be a more productive interface between the DfEE and DSS in relation to intercalating students. NUS recommends that either the DfEE or the DSS should accept responsibility for providing an entitlement to funding for all students who intercalate for whatever reason. In addition, better monitoring of the extent of intercalation, the reasons and duration needs to be collected, in order to understand the financial and retention issues within this area.

  6.   Students and benefits

  NUS wishes to emphasise the need for greater co-ordination between the DfEE and other agencies involved in supporting students. NUS specifically recommends a review of the current system of entitlements which recognises the complexity of the issues and maximises the involvement and sustained participation of non-traditional students in higher education.

  7.   Pre-entry information[34]

  NUS calls for HEIs to maximise the availability of clear and realistic information regarding course requirements, such as time commitments, assessments, and the true costs of study. This is particularly important in terms of non-traditional students, who are often less well-versed than those from higher socio-economic groups on the requirements of academic study and the pressures of university life.

  8.   Access

  Students from non-traditional backgrounds are often in greater need of support, and the dual approach of widening and maintaining access needs to be addressed in any scheme relating to boosting participation among under-represented groups in HE.

  NUS would wish to see more rigorous targets set for HEIs, with the possibility of funding for those students who drop out being recovered by the funding body, in order to ensure that HEIs maximise the support provided to students, and thus the likelihood of students completing courses.

  9.   Hidden Course Costs

  Clear and realistic information on the true costs of study, such as photocopying, printing, and field trips must be provided to students before they make course choices.

  NUS recommends the provision of grant based funding needs to meet these needs, preferably on a statutory basis. If costs must be met by the Hardship Funds, then institutions need to assess extra course costs and offer course costs grants to these students.

  10.   Staff

  NUS has noted the central role of staff in supporting students and reducing the likelihood of non-completion. We therefore recommend a better pay and conditions package for academic staff which will have the dual aim of aiding recruitment and retention of staff, and which will permit staff to maintain and maximise their pastoral role. In addition, equality needs to be emphasised, in line with increasing diversity among the student population. NUS recommends the full implementation of the Bett Report as the ideal means of achieving these ends.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  Department of Education and Employment (2000); The Excellence Challenge: The Government's Proposals for Widening Participation of Young People in Higher Education; DfEE; London

  Department of Education and Employment (2000); Report of the Access Funds and Hardship Loans Review; DfEE, Student Support Division 1; London

  Department of Education and Employment (2000); Student Income and Expenditure Survey; Claire Callender and Martin Kemp; DfEE; London

  HEFCE (1997) Undergraduate Non-completion in Higher Education in England; HEFCE Report 97/29; Bristol

  Independent Committee of Inquiry into Student Finance (1999), Student Finance: Fairness for the Future; Scottish Executive; Scotland

  Institute for Policy Studies in Education (2000); Social Class and Access to Higher Education, occasional paper 2; Louise Archer; University of North London; London

  National Union of Students (2000); Equal Access or Elitist Entry?: The Impact of Student Funding on Access to Higher Education; NUS; London

  National Union of Students (1999); NUS Student Hardship Survey; NUS; London

  National Union of Students (1999); NUS Students at Work Survey; NUS; London

  NUS also consulted with welfare officers at several students' unions in compiling this submission.

National Union of Students

January 2001


1   NUS is grateful to the welfare officers consulted in the compilation of this evidence, and whose comments are included herein. Back

2   The Independent Committee of Inquiry into Student Finance (Cubie Report); 2000; 35. Back

3   Undergraduate non-completion in higher education in England, Report 1; Yorke; HEFCE; 1997. Back

4   Report of the Access Funds and Hardship Loans Review (2000); DfEE; Student Support Division 1; London. Back

5   Student Income and Expenditure Survey; DfEE; Callender; London; 2000; 275. Back

6   NUS Student Hardship Survey; London. Back

7   Student Income and Expenditure Survey (2000); Callender; DfEE; London. Back

8   Student Income and Expenditure Survey; Callender; DfEE; 2000; xv. Back

9   Ibid.; 2000; 195. Back

10   Making the Right Choice; CVCP; 1999. Back

11   University College Worcester Student Union; 2001. Back

12   Ibid. Back

13   Quote from LSE Students' Union; 2001. Back

14   McKechnie et all; 1998; 49. Back

15   NUS' consultation with student advisors; 2000; 7 (Annex A, Part ii). Back

16   University of Teeside Union, 2001. Back

17   Archer: Social Class and Access to Higher Education; Institute for Policy Studies in Education; University of North London; 2000; 13. Back

18   Independent Committee of Inquiry into Student Finance; 2000; 33. Back

19   Quote from NUS' consultation with student advisors; 2000; 8. Back

20   University of Teeside Union Advice Centre; 2001. Back

21   Not printed. Back

22   Archer: Social Class and Access to Higher Education; Institute for Policy Studies in Education; University of North London; 2000; 13. Back

23   Student Income and Expenditure Survey Callender; DfEE; 2000; xvi. Back

24   Annex : Interface between social security benefits and student support; NUS, NASMA & AMOSSHE; 2000. Back

25   The Draft Social Security Amendments (Students) Regulations 2000: Report by the Social Security Advisory Committee under section 174(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Statement by the Secretary of State for Social Security in accordance with section 174(2) of that Act, CM4739. Back

26   This only applies to students who are eligible for support under the Student Support Regulations. Back

27   Social Security Amendment (Students) Regulations 2000. Back

28   Income Support (General) Regulations 1987. Back

29   SSAC report on the draft Social Security Amendment Education (Student support) Regulations, //53ii; 2000. Back

30   Undergraduate non-completion in higher education in England, Report 1; Yorke; HEFCE; 1997; 15. Back

31   Blicharski; Disadvantaged Youngsters, in Preece (1998) Beyond the Boundaries; NIACE; 1998; 31. Back

32   Figures based on statistics from UCAS, for more information, see NUS Research paper, Equal Access or Elitist Entry?; NUS; 2000. Back

33   Ozga & Sukhnanadan; Report 2, Undergraduate non-completion in higher education; HEFCE; 1997. Back

34   NUS notes the limited powers of the Committee in intervening in these issues. Back


 
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