A controversial new system plans to rank universities by graduate earnings.
Alarmed academics stress that government implementation of this new system will be detrimental to arts and humanities courses and to struggling regions. Rankings of universities specialising in arts and humanities are set to plummet due to careers in these sectors having lower salaries than STEM careers. Rankings of non-London based universities whose graduates are less likely to relocate to the capital in order to gain a higher salary are also set to plummet.
The government first revealed plans for university reform in their November manifesto when they pledged to tackle ‘low-quality‘ courses, the definition of which was not made clear. Now, academics working closely with Westminster have revealed that a plan similar to the four Ofsted categories used to rank schools is in development.
The Department for Education has said:
The government subsidises around 50% of the cost of higher education and it is only fair that this funding is used as efficiently as possible, so students can be confident they are getting good value for money.
The implications of being defined as a “low-quality” course are unclear. Universities fear that this will result in lower funding and perhaps lower student loans, or no loan at all for students wishing to study these courses. There are also fears that the government may attempt to shut down courses.