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the university as “heritage industry,” part 2: now with numbers

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Ah, here we go. This is exactly what I’ve been talking about. From the Times Higher Education:

Data published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service reveal that 210,022 people – about a third of applicants – were not accepted on to university courses last autumn.The number of UK students accepted fell by 0.8 per cent, but non-European Union places rose by 12.4 per cent.

EU student numbers, which are subject to the same strict cap on places as UK ones, also went up.

The Ucas figures reveal the final picture of those who applied to start university in 2010.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “Record numbers of students missed out on a university place because the government refused to fund sufficient places and that trend is set to continue this summer. After the government axed the education maintenance allowance, these figures are a reminder of the rationing of opportunity at the higher education level as well.

“The foreign market is a lucrative one for UK universities and these figures suggest that UK students are now disproportionately missing out on places.”

There was a 27.8 per cent increase in the number of students coming from China.

Again, just to reiterate: I have absolutely no problem with the admission of international students and, if the world were perfect, one would teach a randomized mix of students ingathered from everywhere. I’m, after all, a foreigner myself. That’s not the issue. What is the issue is shifting from merit to money as the primary determinate of who gets places – or rather, of what places are available in the first place. Non-EU students pay more, therefore universities who can manage it are shifting their provision toward programmes that attract non-EU students (say, interdisciplinary MAs rather than hardcore single subject BAs). The article continues:

Paul Marshall, executive director of the 1994 Group of smaller research-intensive universities, said: “Higher education is one of the UK’s most successful export industries and today’s figures show that it is going from strength to strength.

Never in my wildest dreams, while I was doing my PhD, did I think I’d be a part of a dying nation’s “most successful export industry.” But, true to form,  I did receive an email the other day soliciting applications to work for a new branch campus in Qatar. Comes with a free apartment and car. No salary increase though – the fact that Qatar charges no income tax is supposed to serve as the enticing “raise.”

Written by adswithoutproducts

January 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Posted in academia, austerity

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