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Universities UK outlines vision of universities fit for the future

Universities UK Media Release, September 23, 2002:

Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of Universities UK, today pressed the Government to help ensure that universities are fit for the future. She also pressed the Government to introduce changes to student support to ensure that more students from less well-off backgrounds are able to go to university.

Speaking to a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat party conference, Diana Warwick set out her vision for the future, in which "poor students won’t be deterred by fears of debt. There will be seamless links with Further Education. Universities will work with business, reaching out to help develop their regions. Our universities’ international reputation will be even higher. The sector will be a magnet for teachers and researchers from around the world, paying staff competitively for the excellent work they do."

Diana Warwick went on to highlight the work already going on in universities to nurture this vision. But she said it was vital that the sector be equipped to plan for it now: "What we have done is present a carefully costed, even cautious, bill based on independent evidence for what the Government itself wants to do. It is for the Government to decide if the price of its own priorities is worth paying."

At the same time, Baroness Warwick highlighted the urgent need to offer proper financial support to students: "One barrier to access is finance. There is no doubt in my mind that some potential students are unwilling to start a course which will leave them with several thousand pounds worth of debt. Government help is needed to persuade the poorest students to embark on the courses that will bring enormous benefits to the students themselves and society as a whole." Universities UK is looking to the Government’s review of student support to act on these concerns.
Diana Warwick also sought to reassure students worried about the current uncertainty over A-level grades. She said: "We are waiting for the full results of the reviews set up by the Government last week. But the most important thing for us to do at this obviously stressful time for young people is to try to reassure them that universities will do all they can to help them. All those who already have places this year will not lose them. And many universities have said they will offer places next year to any students who find they have met this year's conditional requirements after any reassessment takes place."

October 2002

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Last updated: 4 October 2002 10:55
Created by: Rachel Tunstall

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