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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Higher Education Digest July-August 2018


Highlights from July-August 2018

Student fees for 2019-20

1. On 2 July, the Government announced that home undergraduate student fees for those starting in 2019-20 would be capped (as now) at £9,250. At the same time, it was announced that the repayment threshold above which graduates are required to make repayments on their loans would rise from £21,000 to £25,000 from tax year 2018-19, and rise each year by average earnings thereafter.

Brexit and HE

2. The Government announced that EU students starting courses in 2019/20 will – as now – be eligible for home fee status and able to access student loans.

3. In the middle of July, the Government published its White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the European Union. This is the negotiating proposal the UK Government will pursuing with the EU, following the meeting of Cabinet Ministers at Chequers in July, including leaving the single market and customs union, but establishing a free trade agreement for goods. Key elements of specific interest to the higher education sector include:

4. On 23 August, the Government began to publish guidance documents of preparations and implications of a no-deal Brexit. These include:

New Tier 5 Immigration route

5. The Government has announced that UKRI will operate a new Tier 5 visa route, allowing them to directly sponsor highly skilled individuals. These individuals include academics, researchers, scientists, research engineers or other skilled research technology specialists who will be hosted through an approved research institute, in a supernumerary role. 

National Student Survey (NSS)

6. On 27 July, the Office for Students published the results of the 2018 National Student Survey. The headline UK wide data included:

7.  At the University of Southampton, 84% of students were satisfied with the overall quality of course.

UCAS data – applicants for university 2018

8. On 12 July, UCAS published its annual data on applications for undergraduate study reached by the cut-off date of 30 June. The data show that there were:


9. In August, University UK published a report entitled Solving Future Skills Challenges. The report assesses future skills needs in industry in the light of developments in automation, AI and digital technology. Key findings include:

Student Minds – LGBTQ+ Student Mental Health

10. Student Minds have carried out an online survey and published a report on LGBTQ+ Student Mental Health, with 93% of respondents thinking that young LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of poor mental mental health than non-LGBTQ+ students. Key recommendations include:

Free Speech - HEPI

11.  The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) have published a Practical Guide for University Free Speech policies. It provides suggestions on codes of practice for freedom of speech, on issues such as: accessibility, dissemination, definitions, clarity, proportionality, format, remit, available assistance, and appeals.

12. The University of Southampton’s Code of Practice to Secure Freedom of Speech within the Law is available here.

Research Integrity

13.  On 11 July, the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee published the report on their inquiry into Research Integrity. The inquiry found:

Gavin Costigan


Director of Public Policy|Southampton

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