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Which low-value university courses are at risk from new reforms?

On 20th January 2022, the Office for Students launched a consultation looking into improving student outcomes at university. This follows Onward’s report Question of Degree, which revealed the number of students studying low-value university courses who would be unlikely to repay their student loans in full, placing the burden on the taxpayer instead.

The Office for Students proposes new thresholds for:
  1. Continuation: The percentage of students who continue in their study after the first year. The threshold set for full-time students studying their first degree is 80%.
  2. Completion: The percentage of students who complete their course. The threshold set for full-time students studying their first degree is 75%.
  3. Progression: The percentage of students who go on to managerial or professional employment or further study. The threshold set for full-time students studying their first degree is 60%.

In this data tool which projects outcomes among 2018/19 degree starters, Completion refers to the percentage of students who are projected to obtain a degree at the end of their course, Progression refers to the percentage of students who are projected go on to managerial or professional employment (SOC codes 1-3), further study or retired, caring for someone, travelling. This definition of Progression is set by the Office for Students but is understood to be a wider definition than what is referred to in the consultation. You can read the methodology used here.

 

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A Question of Degree

Exploring long-term earnings for higher-education leavers, why we should cut graduates’ taxes and pay for it by reducing the number of low value university courses.