Academic Event

Aaron Porter: The Value of Higher Education in a New Era (@_UOW)

Joy Carter introducing Aaron Porter

Variance of numbers progressing into higher education – NE least likely, SE/London far more likely to (ties into economic value).

Parliamentary Constituencies send everything from 10%-60% to university.

Gender – much more women, but women still earning around 12% less. Also month of birth – September 5% more than August.

More ££, parents read Daily Telegraph – more likely to go.

Tip of a demographic downturn. 10 years of drops in numbers to 2020/21 (4-5%).

Student Numbers: Change over time

Student fees didn’t put numbers off, but there is a tipping point and feels has pretty much reached that point.

Where the money comes from in HE

Oxford/Cambridge could keep going for a couple of years if money stopped coming in today, average looks to hold 3.9% in reserve, but around 12 are in danger (not Winchester).

Some institutions heavily dependent on government funds… Makes them more vulnerable.

Money from research – from 0% to small number get £250k – most because of historical advantage they have. 1 modern university in London has more ethnic minority students than all the Russell Group universities.. Who have most money, etc & therefore could rectify the situation. But these Students – good at getting in to other institutions. Particular problem with white working class boys.

Starting Points: Finish Points

Selection at 11 more likely to ‘succeed’ at 18. Lots of measures of universities on their outcome, but few on the UCAS entry points .. Who is applauding the universities who are getting 200 points to 2:1, whereas 500 points should be a given at first…

Lower socio-economic groups – more likely to stay at home (pre tuition fees), not just cost but not recognising the attainment possibilities.

Most students still attend to get qualifications, get a job, etc a although good number for experience.

Students who want to get into Russell Group not so concerned about subject.. Just want to get in the door. More modern university – more concerned by being at home.

The more likely to vote: the more likely to be in HE

The more participation in elections, more likely to attend uni – not sure what happens first. Government successively cut fees since 1980s…

Choices made much younger e.g. 13 GCSE choices a rules out options at university & therefore late choices.

Graduate Premium by Subject

Graduate premium… Average ££ value after course. Varies by subject etc. figures vary wildly by institution also. Graduate destination data doesn’t vary that much.

Starting salary tends to vary by institution. Interrogate the statistics.. Geography and subject choice makes a big difference (eg arts never pays well).

Consumer Models of Education?

Success in HE – is you making use of the facilities to their best. Gym analogy works – if don’t use equipment won’t get fit (doesn’t matter how much pay) – if don’t take staff advice, use the facilities available – won’t have a good degree experience. Should not be equated with buying a car or a kettle. Lots of debate re cost – but so much more complicated than a simple tuition fee – previous life experience has a much bigger impact.

Important – aspiration & ability – universities CAN take people from all sorts of backgrounds – is still biggest springboard into new world and new opportunities. Bright enough/interested enough – can do what you want…


About 5000 courses being cut because ‘soft’. Definitely thinks universities should consider their portfolio. What is soft/hard is perceptual. Media studies – long derided, but has a great employability record. Media twice as big as pharmaceutical industries in UK.

Statistics = negative. What would say to those re apprenticeships, etc. Stats re happiness, health etc outstrips always. Politicians preach value of apprenticeships but always send own kids to university. Social circles = different world – wider – that apprenticeship can’t offer.

When paying £9k – will employers recognise value of this? In 1960s were saying literacy skills not good. Employers are mostly 80%+ happy with students. If employers want specific skills, should pay on the job. Unis need to be open to what unis can offer re employability… Though not driven by it. Youth un employment Stands at 20%. Graduates at 10% and earnings go up faster, with promotions, etc.

Passion for widening access/opportunities for all – only those universities that are keen to do so. Often written off at an earlier age… So important to continue working with primary/secondary schools to widen access. Important for parents to talk about university (even if not been) & how many books in house – makes a difference. Encouragement at choices at 11 makes a huge difference. Hopefully at 18 student drives the choices. ensure those in state schools get meaningful careers advice (when challenge is getting 5 GCSEs)… Give evidence of data of what university can do for you…

Hard/soft decided at school. Should be encouraged to take those they enjoy, but also good at… Not just those that can get a good grade/economics… Inconsistency in policy – calling for more practical subjects but not giving eg a D&T degree the same power as eg history.

Biggest issue not fees, but the removal of the infrastructure for access – eg Aim Higher = the biggest issue.

What about additional courses for trips, etc. ‘hidden fees’ especially when tuition fee goes up. Becomes less and less acceptable although universities have only same/less money. Need greater transparency around those costs – with a view of removing them. Is cross subsidy goes on – as e.g. Medics costs £17k+, whereas low end subjects £4k – how transparent are unis going to be?

5 years ago not a single care student at Winchester, this year are 18. Don’t sit on hands and say ‘we can’t do anything’.

ALFRED: Launch of Edition 3

You can download Vol 3 of ALFRED here.

Alfred Volume 3

This (just published) volume show cases 17 student papers, including coursework, FYPs and reflection pieces. Topics covered in this edition include a critique of a creative writing degree, paper examining Hindu pilgrimage, a report on the complexity of ADHD, a discussion on the Human Rights Bill, an analysis of Nokia Corporation, a look at Bosnian Theatre in a war zone. The contributors have demonstrated the excellent work produced by Winchester’s undergraduates.