Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic there have been concerns about the financial impact on universities. Much of this has focussed on the potential loss of international students, but there could also be losses in income from lower home student numbers, a drop in research work and less revenue from accommodation, catering and conferencing. What are the size of these impacts and what has the Government done to support the sector?

What is the guidance for students moving back on to campuses at the start of in 2020-21 and on returning home for the Christmas break? What concerns were raised about the return to campus? How have universities changed the way they organise teaching and how does this affect potential fee refunds? How many students and staff have tested positive for Covid-19? Has the peak among students passed? What impact will the national lockdown from 5 January 2021 have on students and providers?

Headline student numbers have increased to new records following a short dip after to the 2012 reforms. There are however ongoing concerns about numbers outside this group where trends have not been so positive, including part-time undergraduates, some postgraduates students, overseas students from some countries, especially Nigeria and Malaysia, mature students and some disadvantaged groups. There is also considerable concern about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and student numbers, particularly those from overseas and uncertainty about the impact of Brexit on EU student numbers.

  • Research Briefing

    This House of Commons briefing provides information on the Erasmus+ programme and discusses the future position of the UK with regard to the scheme post Brexit. On 24 December 2020 the Prime Minister announced that the UK would no longer participate in Erasmus+ and would develop its own replacement programme - the Turing Scheme.

  • Research Briefing

    This House of Commons library briefing paper sets out data on the prevalence of mental health conditions in higher education students in England and outlines the action higher education providers, the government and the Office for Students are taking to help students with mental health issues. It also flags up how students can get support and looks at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Research Briefing

    Student loans are the main method of direct government support for higher education students. More than £17 billion is loaned to students each year. The value of outstanding loans at the end of March 20 reached £140 billion. The Government forecasts the value of outstanding loans to be around £560 billion (2019‑20 prices) by the middle of this century. The expansion of loans has raised questions about graduate repayments and ultimately the cost of the system to the taxpayer

  • Research Briefing

    This House of Commons briefing paper discusses the university admissions system and the various review of university admissions. The Office for Students launched its review on 27 February 2020. On 22 July 2019 Universities UK launched its own separate review of admissions which was published on 13 November 2020. On the same day Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson said that it was his intention to consider post-qualification university admissions and that the government will consult on proposals to “remove the unfairness” in the university admission system. The paper focuses on the use of predicted grades for university admissions, the increase in unconditional offers by universities, contextual admissions and issues around a post qualification admissions system.

  • Research Briefing

    This House of Commons briefing paper outlines the current funding system for: healthcare students, medical and dentistry students and paramedics and discusses the impact of the 2017 reforms on entrants to healthcare degrees. It also outlines new funding arrangements for nursing, midwifery, healthcare students and paramedics from September 2020.

  • Research Briefing

    Higher education underwent fundamental changes to how it was financed in England 2012. There have been ongoing smaller changes since then and prospects for much larger changes following the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. How has this affected the balance between the broad sources of funding -the taxpayer and graduate and how has the total funding from all sources for universities changed?