Tag: student aid

Report: How to assure fair participation in higher education?

reportWPHigher education systems across the world are undergoing substantial expansion, even if the starting point is in many cases substantially different. However, the general expansion trends puts focus on assuring that this widening participation also reaches under-represented groups. How to assure that widening participation also means fair participation?

HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council in England, has commissioned a new report that examines six national case studies that detail effective approaches to widening participation strategy and practices. The main goal was to identify “what works”, what are some of the identified good practices. The case studies focus on impact and effectiveness through multiple levels – from system level policies of widening participation to institutional level interventions.

Based on the six cases in Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and the United States of America (USA) the report examined some common systemic factors that influence access and progression. General educational system structure is also linked to progression to higher education. As expected, system stratification in many cases is linked to the socio-economic conditions of the particular area, and one can identify a concentration of high performing schools in more advantaged areas. Furthermore the report indicates that social class is the key determinant of both success in education and access to higher education. This class division is also seen amongst those who do go to higher education in cases where there is a more stratified higher education system. Students from higher socio-economic background tend to attend highly selective institutions with more research oriented profile, whereas those from lower socio-economic background tend to attend institutions with less prestige and more vocational/professional profile. The report suggests that focus on alternative pathways (for instance, accreditation of prior learning, options to progress to HE from vocational education, etc) can facilitate more diverse student participation.

Student blogger: Potential pathways towards more diversified funding in Ghana

Palmah A. Howusu

Palmah A. Howusu

This guest entry is written by Palmah A. Howusu who is now a second year Master student at the Hedda Master Programme in Higher Education. Palmah is from Ghana and has earlier worked as a teacher in Ghana for over ten years. Furthermore, she holds a bachelors degree in Psychology. In this entry, she writes about the  problems with current funding system in Ghana and suggest some potential alternative solutions to diversify funding of higher education in Ghana. 

Governments all over the world are finding it difficult to continue funding higher education and Africa is the most affected since the majority of her support is from donor countries. This makes the questions of how to diversify university funding especially important.

In Ghana, higher education consists of eight universities, ten polytechnics and other professional institutions. Admission into higher education institutions is determined by students’ performance at the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE). Higher education was traditionally free in Ghana and qualified students were entitled to free boarding and lodging. Nevertheless, the trend has changed in the past 30 years as the government has not been able to meet the financial needs of the modern university hence reducing its subsidies. The government considered several steps towards adjusting the financial structure of the higher education system: public-private partnership, increasing the number of public universities, and in 1997, cost sharing was introduced.

Financing of higher education was divided between the Government (70 per cent) and the remaining 30 percent was divided among three sources (university internally generated revenue, students’ tuition fees and private donations). Academic facility user fees of ($60-$220), residential facility user fees and hall dues were $130 and $25 respectively in 2011/2012 academic year. These fees were introduced at a minimal level but are being increased as the years go by. Consequently, students who were living in university housing pay both while those off campuses pay non-residential facility user fees of about $19. Though it is only 10% of the total university cost that was shifted to students and parents, many people were not in favour of cost sharing leading to students’ riots in the 90s. However, by now the fees are seen as a ‘necessary evil’.

Tuition fees on the rise? HESA review

The Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), recently published their most recent review about changes in tuition fee policies in 40 countries across the globe.

The reviewed countries include the so-called G-40 – the fourty countries that account for 90% of global enrollments and research production. The report argues that 2011 was a year marked by the after effects of the global recession, and higher education is also affected by the decreasing and tighter public budgets.

Funding cuts a reality in a number of countries world wide

Funding cuts to higher education were a reality in a number of countries, countries such as Brazil, Italy, Pakistan and Ukraine experienced the most severe cuts, whereas cuts were also identified in Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The only countries who managed to increase budgets – also when taking into account inflation rates were Chile, China and Singapore. However – they identify that the rhetoric for more diversified funding base and more private funding sources is identifiable across the majority of countries – independent of the decrease or increase of public funding.

Autonomy still high on the agenda

Diversification of funding sources also creates a new dynamic in the public-private balance, and the report identifies that the discussions around autonomy and accountability remain to be high on the agenda. This gives weight to the argument that higher education systems are increasingly facing new accountability measures where the state is staying at “arms lenght”, through various agencies (also called ‘agencification’ in the relevant literature).

Decisions: Great Britain, or Europe?

foto: colourbox.com

This guest blog post is written by Stevie Goddard, a second year student in the European Master in Higher Education.  In this post, Stevie shares his thoughts and opinions about debate surrounding tuition fees in England and the dilemma between  choosing to study in the UK or abroad.

It is nearly October, and weeks away before my half-witted, and half-brother starts applying to universities in Great Britain. At 17 years of age, in the middle of a typical over-chaotic adolescence ‘world’, he will soon be asked to carefully and rationally consider options imperative to his entire future.

Naturally, this particular debt averse prospective student inspects the dangers first. The bleak employment environment, debts averaging over £22,000 currently even before price hikes, and an oversaturated number of graduates in the country already (17:1 graduates to jobs). This is even before anxious contemplations of requiring continuous employment alongside study commitments, not achieving the top two degree grades that hold real value, wishing to change courses thus extending study duration and debt, and the debt-inhibiting appeal to continue on to postgraduate courses.

Mexico Launches New Program to Assist Students During Global Economic Crisis

The Mexican Public Education Secretariat and Rectors of 128 Mexican public higher education institutions launched a new program to encourage students to continue their higher education aspirations during the global economic crisis. UNAMAs a way to curb the student drop-out rate and discourage students from postponing their studies, the program includes discounting tuition and fees while increasing federal scholarships. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Public universities account for 87 percent of the 2.5
million students enrolled in institutions of higher education in Mexico. Of those, 600,000 live under the pove
rty line, Mr. Tuirán [the country’s under secretary for higher education] said.” The M
exican government has pledged to increase the number of federal scholarships from 234,000 to 310,000 next year, resu
lting in an additional $180-million allocated to higher education.