The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has called for an end to ‘unconditional conditional’ offers made to higher education students by UK universities. These kinds of offers first pose a conditional offer to the student, with an offer of unconditional if they mark the university as their first choice. Mr Williamson has compared this practice to ‘pressure selling’ and claims that it restricts people’s opportunities.
Many universities in the UK have already stopped making unconditional conditional offers and Williamson has welcomed this news, hoping that more will follow suit. Despite this, there were still over 80,000 unconditional conditional offers made this year.
Other developments in higher education include plans to overturn the post-study work visa policy, which will again allow foreign students to pursue work opportunities for up to two years following graduation. This is a welcome development during a time of turmoil.
The Universities and Science Minister, Chris Skidmore, commented on Brexit recently, saying that he is fully committed to the UK maintaining Erasmus+ project participation after Brexit and that he wants to protect participation in Horizon 2020. Whatever the outcome of negotiations, he claimed that international alternatives will also be explored.
The cost of university fees is still a topic of much contention, with the UK now considered to be on par with the US in terms of the level of expense. Families continue to carry the financial burden, with many parents holding off on retirement to ensure they can put their child through a university education. At a time when children are expected to become independent and financially stable, the opposite is happening, with many dependent on their families for support and often still living at home long after graduation.