Reporter 397, 17 February 1997


Over ninety percent of academics believe student financial hardship is damaging academic performance, according to a survey for the Times Higher Education Supplement.

A majority of the 400 academic staff interviewed - from junior researchers to vice-chancellors - complained of falling standards. 67% feel British higher education has lower standards in international comparison than in 1980 and only 10% think standards have risen.

There is less agreement, however, about what is to be done; only 25% agree research funding should be concentrated in the departments which performed well in the RAE, with 64% disagreeing. The question of how an expanding higher education sector is to be funded found 42% disagreeing that extra public money should go into further education rather than universities, with just under a third supporting the idea. Over two thirds disagreed that students should contribute to their tuition, but 64% think contributions should be made by employers.

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