Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 7th May 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 7th May 2020

HE Policy

Provider guide to coronavirus (OfS, 04/05/2020)

Financial questions, unconditional offers, and potential sanctions.

Further Comment: Consultation on new regulatory condition (OfS, 04/05/2020)

Regulator warns of penalties for recruitment practices that undermine student interests and stability of higher education (OfS, 04/05/2020)

Government support package for universities and students (OfS, 04/05/2020)

New measures to protect students and universities, including temporary student number controls, have been announced by the Education Secretary today (4 May), answering sector calls on the Covid-19 response.

Further Comment: Universities need our help – we must maintain education’s jewel in the crown (Telegraph, 04/05/2020)

UK must remain “a beacon for talent”, says gov (PIE, 04/05/2020)

NCUB response to universities support package (NCUB, 04/05/2020)

Counter View: Why the new student number cap is unworkable (HEPI, 05/05/2020)

Government support package could ‘negatively impact’ English sector (THE, 05/05/2020)

OfS announces decisions on 2020-21 teaching grant budget (OfS, 06/05/2020)

Funding for nursing, midwifery and allied health courses, the disabled students premium and outreach through Uni Connect will be maintained.

Further Comment: OfS cuts teaching funding (WonkHE, 06/05/2020)

Online students face full tuition fees (BBC, 03/05/2020)

“We don’t believe students will be entitled to reimbursement if the quality is there,” universities minister Michelle Donelan said. But the university sector’s request for a £2bn bail-out has been rejected.

See also: Independent

Further Comment: Government refuses multi-billion pound bailout for universities (Guardian, 04/05/2020)

UK: Gov announces support, admissions rules to protect HE sector (PIE, 03/05/2020)

The government’s Covid-19 support package for universities (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

Even in the Covid crisis, universities are not too big to “fail” (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

How important is university autonomy during and after a pandemic? (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

Prevent monitoring requirements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – Office for Students (OfS, 07/05/2020)

This letter sets out how the OfS expects providers to comply with the statutory Prevent duty during the period of disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic and how we will monitor universities and colleges during this period.

Parliamentary Business

Higher Education (Hansard, 06/05/2020)

Covid-19: Further and Higher Education (Hansard, 06/05/2020)

Student Numbers, Admissions, and UCAS

2020 graduates: nearly half now considering a postgraduate course (UB, 07/05/2020)

New Prospects research shows effect of lockdown on the plans and feelings of 2020 graduates

So, what is Clearing Plus? (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

It unexpectedly appears in the sector support package, but what might Clearing Plus mean for an already unstable 2020 UCAS cycle? David Kernohan applies himself.

University Funding and University Status

Even before coronavirus, UK university finances were on the brink (Guardian, 06/05/2020)

Without action, this crisis and the collapse in international student numbers could be the final blow for some institutions

Covid-19 has made universities’ financial forecasts redundant. Good luck to us all (Guardian, 05/05/2020)

Will freshers opt to defer for a year, and can universities let them? No one knows the answers to even the biggest questions

SOAS faces ‘viability problems’ amid pandemic crisis, director warns (THE, 06/05/2020)

University of London institution’s head issues stark warning to staff that finances are ‘not good’ and job reductions are ‘inevitable’

Roehampton is ‘first UK university to announce crisis job severances’ (THE, 07/05/2020)

Voluntary scheme in response to pandemic ‘devastates’ staff

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

UK: new guidance on refunds applies to students, says CMA (PIE, 05/05/2020)

Guidance by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority that says consumers could be given partial refunds for services missed because of Covid-19 applies to students, The PIE News has learnt.

Effects of refunding tuition fees would be “horrendous”, Petitions Committee is told (UB, 07/05/2020)

The House of Commons Petitions Committee brings together student petitioner and sector heavyweights

Further Comment: Students ‘completely ignored’ over fee-refund claim (BBC, 07/05/2020)

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

UK: international students divided on start dates for academic year – UKEAS (PIE, 07/05/2020)

Prospective UK autumn 2020 international students are buying time to see what happens in the UK and their own home country before committing to studying overseas, research from UKEAS has shown.

UK: Indian gov schedules flights for students (PIE, 07/05/2020)

Flights are being scheduled for Indian students “stranded” in the UK, with one student group estimating as many as 10,000 students want to return home.

Int’l applicants determined to study abroad (PIE, 05/05/2020)

The majority (69%) of international student applicants remain determined to study abroad despite the travel restrictions, according to an IDP Connect survey.

Not all foreign students are home from home (JISC, 04/05/2020)

During the current pandemic, not all students studying from home have the same access rights to scholarly content. That’s especially true of learners that are studying abroad at a partner organisation or foreign campus for a UK qualification.

Chinese students in UK ‘report increased racism and discrimination’ (THE, 07/05/2020)

Researchers find overseas students from China are experiencing high levels of anxiety and insecurity in wake of pandemic

Most internationally mobile students ‘not deterred by pandemic’ (PIE, 04/05/2020)

Universities and policy makers must move quickly to exploit ‘small window of opportunity’, global survey suggests

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

University partnerships could redress the international student decline (THE, 06/05/2020)

Coordinating across two jurisdictions during a pandemic is difficult, but the effort should pay off, says Yusra Mouzughi

Widening Participation

To stop poorer students giving up on university, we must offer them places now (Guardian, 05/05/2020)

Unconditional offers for places on foundation courses would give disadvantaged students the support they need

If universities shift online, we risk more poorer students dropping out (Guardian, 04/05/2020)

Universities must introduce extra financial and pastoral support to look after their remote students

Above and beyond predictions (HEPI, 07/05/2020)

No exams presents an opportunity for innovation in contextual admissions

Improved data resources provide more clarity on equality gaps (OfS, 07/05/2020)

It will be clearer than ever which universities and colleges are doing well at promoting equal opportunities and where gaps remain, thanks to the latest updates to the Office for Students’ (OfS) access and participation data resources.

We cannot let Covid-19 derail progress on closing the BAME attainment gap (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

One year on from the Closing the Gap report, Amatey Doku reflects on progress – and the mountain yet to be climbed.

Covid-19 does discriminate – so we should tackle its impact on BAME students (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

The BAME degree awarding gap is likely to be an even bigger issue now. Gurnam Singh reflects on what universities should do next.

Student Experience and Standards

QAA publishes guidance on assessing with integrity in digital delivery (QAA, 07/05/2020)

An overview of the approaches providers can take against the threat of essay mills and contract cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct

Communication with students means listening as well as talking (WonkHE, 06/05/2020)

Effective communication with students during the pandemic isn’t just about the wording of emails, argues Jim Dickinson

I’ve spent years working towards my degree. Now Covid-19 has thrown students off track (WonkHE, 04/05/2020)

Final-year law student Jessica Davies reflects on all the plans and experiences students have lost to Covid-19.

Roland Kupers: ‘revolution’ coming on education, complexity, climate (THE, 07/05/2020)

As the tools of complexity theory prove crucial in responding to the pandemic, they must be taught far more widely in universities, argues former oil executive turned researcher

Learning and Teaching

‘I can’t get motivated’: the students struggling with online learning (Guardian, 04/05/2020)

As universities shift online, experts worry that disadvantaged and disabled students may slip through the cracks

The Digital Literacy Myth: not all are natives (Advance HE, 07/05/2020)

Peter Wolstencroft and Xue Zhou from Coventry University, reflect on their research that looks at the gap between the assumption that students are ‘digital natives’ and the reality that many need additional support to ensure that they get the best out of higher education in the UK.

The Importance of Saying Goodbye to Your Students in Times of Uncertainty (Faculty Focus, 06/05/2020)

Given all the competing pressures right now, you may think you don’t have time to devote to goodbyes, but please challenge yourself as to whether the final chapter or lecture is really necessary and instead, make time and space for your students to name and celebrate their hardships, accomplishments, relationships, and to say goodbye.

How to protect students from “Death By Powerpoint” in September (WonkHE, 07/06/2020)

How might we protect students from “Death By Powerpoint” next year – in a world where online learning looks increasingly prominent?

Saying thank you takes courage (WonkHE, 05/05/2020)

When staff go above and beyond to offer support and inspiration, we know students are often grateful. But why are expressions of gratitude so difficult?

But somehow the vital connection is made (WonkHE, 02/05/2020)

A group of senior leaders in higher education reflect on the importance of human connection as we navigate the pandemic and its impacts.

Pastoral Concerns

Supporting student mental health (OfS, 30/04/2020)

Working with universities, colleges and other stakeholders, the Office for Students (OfS) is producing a series of briefing notes on the steps universities and colleges are taking to support their students during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Academic lives are in transition (WonkHE, 04/05/2020)

A group of university academics set out to capture and profile academic lives-in-transition as a result of the pandemic. Here’s the results.

How Fika is supporting universities with mental fitness during Covid-19 (WonkHE, 03/05/2020)

Fika is making its Covid-19 mental fitness package freely available to universities for the rest of the year. Co-founder Nick Bennett explains the science behind the package.


Almost a third of graduate jobs have been cancelled or deferred due to coronavirus, poll finds (Guardian, 07/05/2020)

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that it is a “terrible time” to be a young person

Further Comment: More than half of final year students lose jobs or internships during pandemic (JISC, 07/05/2020)

IT in HE

Hostile states trying to steal coronavirus research, says UK agency (Guardian, 03/05/2020)

Experts say Russia, Iran and China likely to be behind cyber-attacks on universities

Online safety: helping staff and students get it right (JISC, 07/05/2020)

Disruptors and criminals always take advantage of world disasters and the COVID-19 outbreak is no exception.

How we are supporting research dealing with COVID-19 (JISC, 04/05/2020)

The spread of the COVID-19 virus has presented unparalleled challenges for academia and research. Here’s how JISC is supporting research during this pandemic.

‘Global effort needed’ on worldwide online teaching (THE, 06/04/2020)

Experts say 2020 will be a watershed year for online education, both during and after the Covid-19


How the global simulation modelling community can help reduce the impact of COVID-19 (CABS, 05/05/2020)

Social scientists can play a key role in stopping the coronavirus (THE, 07/05/2020)

Yes, excess haste can lead to mistakes, but the same is true of natural science, says Sandro Galea

Mission-driven research is no substitute for discovery science (THE, 07/05/2020)

Impact usually originates in discoveries by smart people who could not possibly have dreamed of the application, says Douglas Kell

Public trust in science ‘soars following pandemic’ (THE, 07/05/2020)

Survey results from Germany also suggest people think public disagreement between scientists is good, as it will lead to better results

Equality and Diversity

Don’t let the pandemic overshadow racial inequalities in higher education (THE, 03/05/2020)

The Race Equality Charter must be part of universities’ recovery plans, argues Dave Thomas

Administration and Governance

Managing the release from lockdown (JISC, 04/05/2020)

When colleges and universities open their doors once more, what lessons will have been learned from the COVID-19 crisis? And, asks Chris Thomson, when is the right time to start planning the next steps?

Leading through coronavirus – choices and the stuff that doesn’t change (Advance HE, 06/05/2020)

Jo Chaffer explores how our strategic foundations enable course-corrections, choice and maybe even a sense of calm amongst the uncertainty

The strategic imperative: planning for a post-Covid future (WonkHE, 06/05/2020)

Boards of governors are moving from crisis management to strategic planning. KPMG’s Justine Andrew – herself a university governor – sets out the big strategic questions, and how boards can be confident they’re getting the right answers.

From crisis to creativity: how Covid-19 could change HE governance (WonkHE, 06/05/2020)

Despite the challenges boards of governors are facing, Debbie McVitty discovers an appetite to use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity for innovation.

Risk management, planning, and audit are at the centre of the sector’s Covid-19 response (WonkHE, 05/05/2020)

Risk management, audit, and strategic planning have all had a role to play in the way the sector has responded to Covid-19. And, as David Kernohan finds out, they will play a huge role in the return to a “new normal”.

Securing the student interest in Covid-19 will require tough choices (WonkHE, 05/05/2020)

Jim Dickinson thinks through the trade-offs between institutional and student interests as boards of governors consider their response to Covid-19.

Trends, Developments and Opinions

Socially distanced on campus education: the next big question (Advance HE, 04/05/2020)

This piece, by Doug Parkin and Alison Johns, is written in response to the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 crisis and its impact on Higher Education.

Can we plan for a socially distanced campus? (WonkHE, 06/05/2020)

As the Covid-19 pandemic wears on, universities may have to implement social distancing on campus. Graham Scott thinks through the implications.

Coronavirus finally allows universities to prove their worth (THE, 05/05/2020)

Although UK higher education faces formidable financial challenges, it has won hearts and minds like never before, says Russell Reader