Monday, January 13, 2014

Universities Attracting Top Students With Free Flights, Lap-Tops and Cinema Tickets

English: Queens University, Belfast Queen's is...
Queens University, Belfast (Photo: Wikipedia)
by Schools Improvement Net:

The Telegraph is reporting that universities have been accused of a “deplorable” waste of money after promising students free flights, lap-tops, gym membership, cinema tickets and up to £10,000 in cash to fill places …

… Just days before the main deadline to apply to courses starting in autumn 2014, it emerged that rising numbers of universities are offering hugely generous incentives to recruit students with the best A-level grades.

Many universities are promising cash contributions towards living costs or substantial discounts on fees.

Newman University in Birmingham says all students with BBB grades - or better - will get £10,000 over three years if they make the institution their firm choice on application forms.

Many universities are offering £9,000 while some are providing a string of other benefits. Research by the Telegraph has found that:

• Queens University Belfast will hand AAB students from mainland Britain up to £1,750 a year plus benefits, including three annual flights home, a free cinema pass, sports club membership, bedding and kitchen equipment and a first-year upgrade to ensuite accommodation;

• Newcastle University’s school of electrical and electronic engineering is providing a free laptop plus £2,000 per year for students with AAB grades;

• Surrey University is promising a £3,000 cash award for first year students plus sports club membership for the duration of the course for those gaining the equivalent of A*AA.

Other universities offering some form of academic scholarship - irrespective of household income - include Anglia Ruskin, Aston, Bournemouth, Bradford, City, Essex, Gloucestershire, Greenwich, Heythrop College, Kent, Lancaster, Leicester, Liverpool Hope, Northumbria, Plymouth, Roehampton, Salford, South Bank, Sunderland, Surrey, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

The disclosure was made just days before the Wednesday, January 15, deadline to apply to most degree courses through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

It appears to underline the scale of the competition between universities following a Coalition decision to scrap Labour’s rigid controls on the number of students each institution in England can recruit.

Universities can now take unlimited numbers of students with ABB grades or higher. It has triggered a stampede for students with good A-levels as institutions look to expand or stop high-quality applicants drifting to competitors.

The size and range of incentives is expected to dramatically increase in 2015 when the Government dismantles all controls on student recruitment - creating a completely free market for students irrespective of their grades.

Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, defended the move and insisted institutions were “increasingly looking at innovative ways of attracting students”.

But Bahram Bekhradnia, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute, described the development as “one of the worst features of competition”. “We have seen it in the States where universities are offering gold-plated bath taps and manicured lawns to draw students in and it really is deplorable,” he said.

“It is a terrible waste of what is effectively public money because students’ fees are subsidised by the state. Resources are scarce and these financial inducements are going to students who least need the help because those with the highest grades are invariably from the better off backgrounds.”

These kind of approaches are used to influence buying decisions in virtually every other area of life so perhaps this is inevitable in the competition for students but how can we encourage young people to look beyond these offers? How much of an issue do you think it has become? And should it even be allowed?
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment