Provision of information about higher education

16 June 2011

Commenting on new requirements to publish Key Information Sets (KIS) for all undergraduate courses from September 2012 in the HEFCE/Guild HE/UUK report ‘Provision of information about higher education’, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Universities are fully committed to providing as much information as possible to help students as they make life-changing decisions about what to study and where – particularly as students are asked to contribute more towards the cost of their education. New initiatives, such as the compilation of Key Information Sets (KIS), may be a useful addition to the range of ways we currently use to provide vital information such as websites, prospectuses, school outreach programmes. Gathering some of the existing information from universities into KIS may be also helpful.

"However, KIS will not contain everything prospective students need to know and some of the data KIS offers may not be the most helpful. For instance, drop-out rates are not one of the KIS criteria. There is also a danger that too much emphasis is given to narrow measures like scheduled learning activities whereas leading universities provide a broader educational experience. Information provided by schools, colleges and other agencies are also key parts of the decision-making process particularly when it comes to explaining how the new student support system will work and emphasising that students do not have to pay up-front and only pay back a small fraction of their income once they are earning over £21,000.

“We will continue to work hard to make sure that students with the talent, potential and ability to succeed at a Russell Group university can do so, whatever their background.”

Notes to editors

  1. The student workload, including both timetabled contact hours and private study, is traditionally very demanding at Russell Group universities with numerous unmeasured learning opportunities. Students are supported and steered as they direct and pursue their studies. This support includes, for example, senior lecturers operating ‘open door’ policies, where students can seek advice outside of lectures and tutorials. The notion of ‘scheduled learning’ or ‘study hours’ does not fully capture these additional opportunities to seek guidance from tutors, the fact that different disciplines evolve different ways of learning that are appropriate to the subject, nor the quality and diversity of the student experience.

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