In a letter sent to university vice-chancellors, Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has indicated that higher education institutions will be required to do more to help disadvantaged students get in to high paying graduate jobs. Universities have been told they must help students gain access to high-paying jobs after university to support social mobility across the country.
In order to achieve this, universities will be set targets on students dropping out who are from a disadvantaged background, as well as targets for those going on to well paid jobs after graduating.
Donelan went on to suggest there would be sanctions for universities who did not meet these targets. The changes will mean that universities are required to make 5-year participation and access plans, in order to fulfil the promises made to students and give more weight and direction to the degrees offered.
It is not yet clear the exact form that these measures would take, but the aim set out by the government is to make sure that social mobility is a priority for students in the future.
On the government plans a University of Manchester spokesperson said:
“We are awaiting detailed guidance on how the requirements for our access and participation plan (APP) and associated targets will change, but we remain fully committed to creating opportunities for all students who can benefit from a Manchester education, regardless of background.
“Recent announcements on university access and participation from the Government include a strong focus on delivering positive outcomes and supporting less advantaged students through university to graduation, and into highly skilled jobs or further study.
“The realignment proposed to Manchester’s structures through the Student Experience Programme will enable full strategic oversight where student access, success and progression are given equal priority and embedded and supported at all levels. This means we are well prepared for the anticipated changes.
“The government guidance also includes a renewed emphasis on universities working with the local community and improving educational standards. As we already run a number of established programmes and partnerships which support our local schools and learners, this is something which we already deeply committed to as a socially responsible University.