An unprecedented barrage of game-changing policy developments has emerged during 2016 that will reshape the market and regulatory landscape for Britain’s higher education (HE) providers. The concurrent impacts of the Brexit vote, the radical provisions of the Higher Education and Research Bill, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), redoubled restrictions on student visas and the restructuring of research funding (among other reforms) present HE leaders with a plethora of new challenges. Coming on top of relatively recent upheavals to the funding and marketisation of HE teaching, how will the sector cope?
This report is based on PA’s eighth annual survey of university vice-chancellors and other leaders of HE institutions. Some general questions were carried forward from previous years, allowing us to see how leaders’ views have changed over time. In addition, this year’s survey focussed on the wave of dramatic changes in the markets and regulation of HE provision over the course of 2016.
The impact of visa controls on student and staff recruitment
79% of university leaders predicted that visa restrictions will have seriously adverse impacts on their sector.
Vice-chancellors are worried that the impacts of policy changes will undermine the viability and competitiveness of the university sector.
The sector is being restructured by stealth
Almost half of vice-chancellors predict significant numbers of institutional failures in the light of policy and market changes.
While many of their peers disagree with this extreme outlook, 74% predict significant rationalisation of the sector, through course and staff cuts, and major restructuring through partnerships, alliances, and collaborations.
Priorities for the future
79% of university leaders say student satisfaction is their top priority.
Vice-chancellors are prioritising TEF, REF and NSS ratings as necessary to protect market positions, but at the same time looking elsewhere for sustainable growth.
To find out more, contact the authors of the report, Mike Boxall and Paul Woodgates