Phase 3 Higher Education Review
The Competitiveness of Higher Education in Scotland
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2. Executive Summary
3. Glossary of Terms
There is a widespread consensus across Scotland of the importance to this country of our higher education system. A flourishing and competitive system of higher education is critical to the country's economic success and to the well being of its people.
The remit of the 3rd Phase Scottish Higher Education Review has been to establish a robust basis of evidence in relation to the competitiveness of higher education in Scotland. By providing a far more extensive shared evidence base than has been available previously, the final report offers a common starting point for Ministers and decision makers in considering the future policy options available to them. The Steering Group is content to present this joint report in that spirit.
The success of the sector has been, and will continue to be based, significantly, on a partnership between autonomous Higher and Further Education Institutions, their staff and students, employers and Government. Phase 3 has adopted an inclusive approach, and has relied on the input and collaboration of professionals from the broadest spectrum of organisations across higher, and further, education in Scotland.
This report reflects the valued contribution of all those organisations listed below, and has relied on their support and commitment. Not every organisation will place the same emphasis on every part, or agree with every detail, of the Review report and in the time available inevitably there have been limits to the scope of the exercise. In recognition of the benefits of the collaborative approach which has characterised Phase 3, and of the dynamic nature of the pressures and challenges that confront the higher education system in Scotland, the steering group set up to oversee Phase 3 has agreed to continue to meet periodically to provide a forum where information can be shared, and where the implications for higher education in Scotland of developments elsewhere can be discussed.
The emphasis of this work has been on gathering and analysing evidence. It has not been the purpose of this exercise to produce recommendations. However, in some places consideration of the data did lead those involved to conclude that it would be helpful to highlight to those with an interest in higher education potential future courses of action. But it is important to be clear that none of these points have the status of being policy positions which have been adopted by any of the individual organisations represented in the review.
What is the higher education sector?
The term higher education is used as a shorthand in this report to refer as far as possible to all HE provision, regardless of the type of institution in which it is provided. However, much of the detailed analysis concentrates on provision in the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) funded by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. This reflects choices made in the individual subgroups. The group agrees that a comprehensive survey would extend the analysis across all HE provision, including that offered in FE colleges ( see section 1.10 below). Where the report does not do so, it recommends further work is done to complete the picture.
STEERING GROUP MEMBERSHIP
Association of University Teachers
Scottish Science Advisory Committee
Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland
Educational Institute of Scotland
Association of University Teachers
National Union of Students (Scotland)
Association of Scottish Colleges
Association of Scottish Colleges
Committee of Chairmen of Scottish HEIs
Educational Institute of Scotland/ULA
Scottish Funding Councils
Association of University Teachers
Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland
National Union of Students (Scotland)
Scottish Science Advisory Committee
Scottish Funding Councils
Clerk, Scottish Parliament Enterprise and Culture Committee (observer)
Mark Batho (Chair)
Other organisations involved in sub-groups
British Universities Finance Directors Group
Education UK Scotland
Scottish Heads of Personnel (SHOP)
Scottish Association of University of Estates
Phase 3 has, from the outset, been a collaborative venture. The remit for this Review was drawn up and jointly agreed by the members of the Steering Group, and approved by the Rt. Hon. Jim Wallace, MSP, Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, in June 2003, as follows:
Building on the strategies set out in the Lifelong Learning Strategy ('Life through Learning; Learning through Life') and the Framework for Higher Education in Scotland, stakeholders in the sector will work together to create a robust base of information on higher education in Scotland in key areas relevant to our understanding of the competitiveness of Scottish higher education in a UK and wider context. This will involve using existing information, and commissioning specific research where required, to develop a common understanding of the current position. This commonly agreed evidence base will then be used:
- as a robust analytical evidence base to better understand the current baseline of the sector
- to understand fully the potential implications of the DfES White Paper, and to inform responses in Scotland to any new funding system implemented by DfES in England
- to inform the 2004 spending review process
- to improve the quality of advice and information available to all interested parties on the sector.
A high level Steering Group, comprising representatives from key stakeholder organisations had oversight of the process. Four technical sub-groups met between September 2003 and January 2004 to discuss and scope information on issues affecting competitiveness in relation to:
(Chair - Jamie Hume, Scottish Executive)
(Chair - Tom McDonnell, President, Association of University Teachers Scotland)
(Chair - Rami Okasha, President, National Union of Students Scotland)
SOURCES AND USES OF INCOME
(Chair - Professor Bill Stevely, Convener, Universities Scotland)
The review has brought together a range of new and existing data and looked at existing data in new ways. Those involved in the review emphasise that the HE landscape in Scotland is complex, and more complex than it has often been possible to do justice to within the limitations of this exercise. Many of the figures here are capable of further analysis or qualification, or more than one interpretation. While the group believes that this report provides a useful overall picture, it cautions readers against placing too much weight on individual figures in isolation.
1.3 COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
Against a backdrop of a world-wide increase in spending and participation in higher education, the Review has focused on seeking to understand better the key issues in relation to Scotland. Although the Phase 3 Review process was prompted by the immediate competitive pressure of tuition fee proposals (contained within the DfES White Paper on Higher Education, published January 2003), there has been a strong recognition of the need independently to assess Scotland's strengths and vulnerabilities. The external environment elsewhere in the UK must be examined and understood, but that should not be the sole basis for analysis and decision making at home. This Review has deliberately focused on understanding where the competitive vulnerabilities of the Scottish system are most likely to lie in future, and identifying where in the system funding pressures are likely to be most acute. This analysis does not depend on specific cross-border funding comparisons, now or in future, but looks first and foremost at Scottish higher education in its own right in terms of changes already taking place and pressures likely to be felt in some key aspects of the system. The Review Steering Group was clear that funding comparisons with England are one relevant issue, but also recognised - in adopting the approach it did - that simple comparisons of figures do not of themselves provide a basis for making the right decisions about the future.
1.5 THE CHANGES IN ENGLAND
The key perceived competitive threat to Scotland is legislation to change the system of university funding, contained in the UK Government's Higher Education Bill. It is appropriate to summarise the key elements of that Bill at this early stage:
Impact on students
- TUITION FEES - currently a flat, up-front, means-tested annual rate of 1,200 (2006/07 prices) would become variable in English HEIs from 2006, from 0 to a maximum 3,000. Universities will have the freedom to set fee levels for each course and each year of intake.
- PAYMENT - English domiciled students at English HEIs would have fees paid on their behalf by the Government under a fee loan scheme, part of the wider student loan scheme, recoverable after graduation above an income threshold of 15,000. Any debt not repaid 25 years after graduation will be written off.
- STUDENT SUPPORT FOR FEES - a new package of student support will be introduced, up to a maximum (for the poorest students) which equals the fee level set (new living costs grant + max. fee remission + new university bursary = tuition fee).
- LIVING COSTS - new bursary and loan amounts will be available see Annex C.1 in main document.
- (N.B. DfES proposals referred to relate to full-time undergraduates)
Impact on universities
- The full impact of tuition fees will take some time to become apparent. Fees are set to be introduced for new entrants to universities in 2006, suggesting that around one-third of the new income will arise in the academic year 2006/07, roughly two-thirds in AY 2007/08, and a little less than the full effect in AY 2008/09, with more or less the full effect by 2009/10 so it will take until 2009/10 for the system to fill up with fee-paying students (allowing for the existence of 4 year courses in England and treating 5 year and longer courses as de minimis).
- If three-quarters of university courses are charged at the full 3,000, and the remaining one-quarter at existing levels, then DfES estimate that, ultimately, fees will generate an approximate 1 billion extra per annum for the English HE sector. Under this assumption, the sector could therefore expect to benefit approximately by an extra 300 million a year in academic year 2006/07, and double that in AY 2007/08, in terms of impact within the 2004 Spending Review period.
- This assumption does not take into account the extra cost associated with growing the English HE system towards target participation rates of 50% (currently 43%), nor the cost of actually maintaining current participation against a steeply climbing demographic curve ( see 1.9). Calculations around extra levels of income to be generated from tuition fees also assume that all other funding streams remain constant.
- In terms of UK Government spending on higher education, over the next 5 years conventional spending review settlements are therefore expected to be as important as any extra tuition fee income.
Impact on government
- The UK Government has committed to paying tuition fees to universities as they fall due, on behalf of English students using the student loans scheme. The cost to Government of financing this arrangement is calculated according to a Resource Accounting Budgeting charge which stands at around 30% in England (the 30% figure is currently under review, but is calculated to take account of the interest rate subsidy, and the expectation of less than full value recovery). For every 100 of tuition fee paid, the cost to Government is 100 x RAB % = (at 30%) 30.
- Repayments, when they are eventually on stream, are repayable not to DfES, but to the Student Loans Company. Spending on tuition fees will therefore be a permanent recurrent annual cost for DfES, which is anticipated to be financed by new money.
- The effects of increases in DfES funding on the Scottish Executive budget are not easy to quantify. Because of the arrangement outlined above, subject to Treasury rules, Scotland potentially stands to benefit via the Barnett formula. The same phasing as applied to new income, outlined above, should apply to the cost to government, as the public subsidy to the new arrangements, provided through use of the student loans scheme, should count as expenditure immediately the student loan is issued. Once the tuition fee scheme is fully up and running (around 2009/10), at a RAB charge of around 30%, and if it comes from new government spending, 1 billion of additional tuition-fee income for the English HE system would generate around 30 million per annum recurrent consequential funding for Scotland. The overall Barnett consequentials for the whole Scottish Budget will of course depend on the totality of decisions taken by the UK Government across all relevant spending in SR2004.
A further important element of the proposals in England is the plan to increase participation rates through reliance, in particular, on Foundation Degrees, many of which are expected to be channelled through further education colleges. This report does not explore the specific implications of this for Scotland. It is however an area which deserves further attention, in particular for the potential impact on HN provision in Scotland ( see Section 1.10 below).
1.6 COMPARING SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND
With a clear understanding of the impact, over time, of the introduction of tuition fees, a key element of the debate about their impact on Scotland has been the controversy over how the financial position of institutions will compare in different parts of the UK.
The principal concern of Scottish HEIs has been that their ability to compete for staff, students and competitively-won sources of external funding will be damaged by any 'funding gap' which might open up. In this context, attempts have been made (though not specifically as part of this Review) to arrive at a definitive analysis of how current higher education funding in Scotland compares to England.
It is widely recognised that it is difficult to compare the funding of Scottish and English higher education institutions (a fact acknowledged in the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Culture Committee's 'Scottish Solutions' report on higher education funding).
The main reasons for this are:
- The traditionally longer undergraduate degree course provided by Scottish HEIs
- Scotland's position as a 'net importer' of undergraduates from England, most of whom study for the full length undergraduate programme
- The higher proportion of students on higher-cost courses in Scotland - such as medicine, veterinary science and other sciences
- The higher participation in SCQF level 7 and 8 courses (mainly HNC/D) in Scotland, provided largely though FE colleges, which in turn is mainly responsible for Scotland's higher participation rates in HE
- Differences in the responsibilities of the Funding Councils - so that, for example, SHEFC funds only HEIs where as HEFCE also funds HE provided by FE colleges in England; SHEFC funds teacher training, whereas in England this falls to the TTA
- Differences in the way the Councils distribute funding - so that, for example, SHEFC puts out a higher proportion of its funding through the main teaching and research formulae, whereas HEFCE 'top-slices' a larger proportion of the revenue it distributes for specific ring-fenced purposes.
As a result of these factors, there are several different ways of looking at the relative funding of higher education systems, and there are different views across the sector as to which comparisons are the most valid to draw, ranging from those that look at teaching funding per student per year, to comparisons of the teaching funding per individual graduate, to comparisons of the relative research investment and finally to comparisons of national overall investment such as are published by the OECD.
This Review has not attempted to settle the detail of this question, beyond stating that there is broad agreement, across the whole HE sector, that for a country of its size Scotland is a relatively larger investor in higher education than England, with the corollary that outputs in terms of numbers of students catered for and levels of research activity are correspondingly higher. The important issue is to understand which elements of the system will be most vulnerable to pressure as funding levels improve in England.
The Group noted as a further piece of context that the Scottish Committee of the Dearing Committee accepted as relevant the Dearing Committee's finding that for the UK as a whole the unit of resource for teaching in HEIs (specifically) reduced in real terms between 1976 and 1995 by 40%.
The Scottish research base in HE is currently very strong. In recent years, around 12% of UK Research Council awards have been won by Scottish HEIs, and in the last RAE in 2001, nearly 50% of HE research was rated as internationally competitive. The rate of improvement over the previous RAE exercise was faster than in other parts of the UK.
Maintaining the competitiveness of the Scottish research base is vital if it is to continue to win Research Council awards and lever in funding from other sources, including Europe, charities and the private sector. It has been suggested that the changes proposed in the DfES White Paper will threaten this competitiveness, firstly by providing additional funding to English HEIs more generally and secondly by the further concentrating research in a smaller number of highly research active universities. Arguably, this will act as a magnet to Scotland's star researchers and to their teams, and it has been suggested that this process has already begun. This Review therefore examines the factors which affect staff mobility and asks whether, and to what extent, Scotland would suffer a 'brain drain' of key staff as these policies are introduced.
Phase 2 of this Review indicated that the Executive did not intend to match the DfES policy of further concentration of research within the Scottish HEI base. The case was made instead for better collaboration on research between institutions and across disciplines. SHEFC is therefore working with the sector on a number of promising collaborative projects, including proposals to pool research resources in four pilot areas (physics, biological sciences, economics and the creative arts). The intention is to create critical masses of internationally competitive research expertise. It is hoped that strengthening the research base in key areas will help to increase competitiveness in UK terms. A revised RAE system, in which collaborative bids will be welcomed, will report in 2008. SHEFC will be able to develop its own funding regime based on the new RAE to meet Scottish needs.
1.8 STUDENT NUMBERS
According to the latest available figures (2001/02), there are well over a quarter of a million students on HE courses in Scotland (272,627). 1
See 1.10 for a discussion on the proportionate share of HE which takes place in FE colleges.
Extensive statistical data is available giving more detail on the make-up of the student population, broken down by student type, level and mode of study (e.g. undergraduate/post-graduate). It can be accessed at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ASD/ELL-EAS6/00017875/page1648662713.aspx and http://www.hesa.ac.uk/products.home.htm
The Age Participation Index, which is the established measure used to express the level of HE participation among Scots under 21 years old anywhere in the UK, whether at an HEI or FEC, stands at 51.5%. This compares to a comparable English figure of around 35%. The Initial Entry Rate for people under 30 years old, including part time students is 43% in England (the IER is a figure only recently constructed for England and is not officially gathered for Scotland).
1.9 FUTURE POPULATION TRENDS
Future demand for HE will be driven by a number factors, a key one being the projected demographic decline in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK.
The following graphs illustrate projected numbers of young entrants to HE assuming current participation rates remain unchanged.
If these projections are borne out, demand in Scotland and England will diverge at the end of this decade, with the numbers of entrants in Scotland starting to fall below their current levels after 2012, while the number of entrants in England will remain higher than current levels right through to 2020.
1.10 HIGHER EDUCATION IN FURTHER EDUCATION COLLEGES (FECs)
The Review set out with the ambition to include fully in its work this important element of HE provision, and to assess the competitiveness of Scotland's higher education system not only with reference to its higher education institutions but also to its further education colleges. HE provision in FE colleges is predominantly focused on shorter, vocational higher national certificates and diplomas.
There are various ways of measuring the contribution made by further education colleges to higher education provision in Scotland. As an indication of overall numbers, for all levels of study including postgraduate, 20% of students by full-time equivalent (FTE) (note: there are differences in the way FTEs are calculated for HEIs and FECS) or 24% of students as measured by headcount, undertaking higher education do so in further education colleges. In terms of completed qualifications, including those at postgraduate level, FE colleges account for 30% of those gaining a higher education qualification, mainly at Higher National Certificate or Diploma level. Measured by those entering higher education the colleges' share is 37 %. HE courses in FE are shorter and therefore a higher percentage share of qualifiers and entrants than overall students is to be expected. (Note: figures here exclude OU students)
The individual sub-groups all identified limitations on readily-available comparable data for HE and FE early on and in the time available all four sub-groups chose to focus their analysis on HE provided in HEIs. In its treatment of HE delivered in FECs, this report therefore restricts itself to limited analysis, and highlights those areas where further analysis could be undertaken or new information could most usefully be sought. Each section of the report includes as much comment as each group felt able to make at this stage on how the specific issues would apply to HE in FE. Ensuring that there is readily-available comparable data and analysis across all types of HE provision should be an important task in the run-up to the creation of the proposed new merged funding body.
One critical recent development in Scotland has been the establishment of the UHI Millennium Institute. UHIMI is a designated HEI funded by SHEFC; however its HE provision is all delivered through 13 'academic partners', which are mainly further education colleges.
2.1 KEY FINDINGS - STAFFING
2.1.1 In order to examine the issue with more clarity it was felt useful to categorise academic staff according to three broad groupings:
top academics - most strategically important and very mobile
established staff - most stable
younger academics new to the profession - most mobile
2.1.2 Number of factors influence staff choices for all three groups: including career progression and job security as well as salary, particularly for younger academics; opportunity to work on cutting edge research, in good research facilities with gifted colleagues more important for top academics.
2.1.3 Salary increases have not kept pace with comparable professions which it is reasonable to assume will have had an impact on HEIs' ability to recruit and retain staff; significant pressures facing the sector from costs of proposals to modernise pay systems (Universities Scotland estimate the cost of modernisation at 30 million).
2.1.4 Long-term importance of attracting gifted young academics to the profession, particularly given demographic profile of HE staff (35% due to retire within 10 years under current legislation). Change needed to enhance career prospects, especially in relation to other industries.
2.1.5 Strong correlation between top academics and research funding levered into HEIs (roughly, 20% of staff may attract 80% of research funding); top academics also act as magnets for best younger academics, and determine overall status of a department.
2.1.6 HEIs are very vulnerable to staff moves amongst top academic group. Dynamic transfer market already in existence, but need better data on staff moves into, between, and out of HEIs to inform future staffing policies.
2.1.7 Any extra investment would send out a strong message about growth potential of the sector in Scotland; perceptions are important in attracting high quality staff.
2.1.8 Infrastructure investment is relevant to the recruitment and retention of staff: investment would ensure continuing attractiveness of facilities, the quality of which is a major pull for senior and junior academics alike.
2.2 POLICY OPTIONS AND ISSUES TO MONITOR - STAFFING
2.2.1 Consider how salaries and other terms and conditions might be made more competitive in comparison to other comparable professions, recognising that this must be a fundamental issue in terms of the long-term ability to recruit and retain staff.
2.2.2 Gather staff data on a more systemic basis across Scottish HEIs, and FECs.
2.2.3 Develop ways of attracting and retaining, young academic staff of suitable calibre (possibly exploring a collaborative approach between HEIs to offer career progression for the most able).
2.2.4 Allocate funding specifically to finance pay modernisation ('ring-fencing' from within current baseline would be unwelcome in the sector as this would imply eating into funding available for existing pay).
2.2.5 Establish and finance fellowships to attract internationally renowned professors to Scotland, and support young 'rising star' researchers.
2.2.6 Promote/fund work through LECs to attract academic staff (recent good exemplar of Tayside/Dundee University).
2.2.7 Reduce percentage of fixed-term contract staff amongst research staff, to improve recruitment and retention through increased job security.
2.2.8 Develop more family-friendly polices within the confines of the national pay framework.
2.2.9 Identify ways, and monitor the ability of, HEIs to recruit female academics in all disciplines including but not only those where females are dominant in the graduate workforce. Also monitor the appointment of female academics into promoted posts, with a view to gender balance in HEIs reflecting that of the graduate workforce.
2.2.10 Monitor any increase in pay premia offered by HEIs UK-wide.
2.2.11 Monitor impact of 'Golden Hellos' being offered to new academics in England.
2.2.12 Monitor impact of HEFCE funding stream for Rewarding and Developing Staff.
2.2.13 Monitor perceptions of Scottish HEI sector: if any perception, real or otherwise, that Scottish HEIs are underfunded in comparison to RUK, staff will be less inclined to consider working in Scotland.
2.2.14 Monitor ability to attract staff of suitable calibre (quality rather than quantity). Research is required.
2.2.15 Consider how to reduce staff churn amongst younger cohort, and thereby address issues arising from current ageing workforce.
2.3 KEY FINDINGS - CAPITAL
2.3.1 The evidence shows that there is a clear problem among HEIs in terms of backlog maintenance, which is currently estimated to be around 430 million.
2.3.2 Almost 50% of the Scottish HE estate requires major repair expenditure
- high proportion of old, expensive-to-upgrade buildings
- high proportion of post-war concrete buildings nearing end of design life
- historic under-spend on maintenance
- a reducing unit of resource against which institutions have found it difficult to sustain long-term estates strategies; and
- relatedly, spending being prioritised elsewhere.
2.3.3 The Scottish estate is large, diverse and expensive to maintain, however, investment in capital and maintenance is proportionally lower than in the rest of the UK.
2.3.4 There is a balance of responsibility which has to be shared between the Executive and the institutions.
- As the main funder of HE, the Executive must ensure that HEIs are adequately funded to meet its priorities.
- At the same time, institutions must demonstrate that they are making the best use of public funds, monitoring effectively and investing in a sustainable manner. As autonomous bodies, institutions must continue to do all they can to find alternative sources of funding to supplement Executive investment and to rationalise and better utilise their estates.
2.3.5 Scotland has traditionally worked to reduce top-slicing of the budget for specific purposes to maximise the autonomy and discretion of principals to make decisions. It is understood that this situation has the continued support of the sector.
2.4 POLICY OPTIONS AND ISSUES TO MONITOR - CAPITAL
2.4.1 Pressures on the sector identified by Phase 3 will be the subject of bids going into the forthcoming Spending Review and as in previous years, could benefit from the ad hoc use of in-year flexibility.
2.4.2 Any future capital investment must be allocated by SHEFC in a manner which ensures:
- that institutions demonstrate best value being achieved from public funding, through excellent, long-term estates strategies, which are focused on delivering a high quality experience for students, researchers and other staff
- that a fair distribution of funds is achieved to meet need across the sector
- that those HEIs which have followed a sustainable and progressive capital investment plan are still able to compete for funds.
2.4.3 As autonomous bodies, institutions must continue to do all they can to rationalise and better utilise their estates.
2.4.4 Further information and analysis is required on the utilisation of space in HEIs.
2.4.5 SHEFC should continue to play a proactive role in evaluating and querying the estates strategies of institutions and assisting institutions to invest in capital in a sustainable manner.
2.4.6 Institutions and SHEFC should work more closely to identify and facilitate increased collaboration and innovative approaches to estates strategies on a national and regional level. Where practical and beneficial this should not just take place among HEIs, but also with SHEFC and other potential partners in the public or private sectors.
2.4.7 The existing main grant allocation should not be ring-fenced for capital. However, any additional funds should be allocated on a strategic basis through some form of Teaching Infrastructure Fund.
2.4.8 If additional investment is to be made, institutions must be able to demonstrate systems are in place to ensure Best Value. SHEFC should continue to monitor this.
2.4.9 More information is required in the area of capital for HE in FE, particularly considering the expansion of HE in England which will, in the main, be delivered through Foundation Degrees.
2.4.10 More information on the student experience of facilities would be of benefit, in particular, to explore any correlation between quality of estates and learning outcomes.
2.4.11 When proposing any action on capital investment in HEIs, the implications for HE provision in FECs should be considered.
2.5 KEY FINDINGS - STUDENTS
2.5.1 It is not possible to predict at this stage how the introduction of variable tuition fees in England will impact on students choices with regard to location of study.
2.5.2 Nonetheless, recently released data from UCAS indicate that it is reasonable to expect the changes in England to increase the cross-border pressure on places.
2.5.3 Factors influencing the choice patterns of Scottish students will vary for different groups and in accordance with individual circumstances.
2.5.4 For some groups of students the key decision is whether to participate and for others it will be where to participate.
2.5.5 Education, career and culture are the key drivers in the decision to study overseas.
2.5.6 RAE ratings are most commonly used by overseas students to inform the decision-making process, in particular by sponsors, and postgraduate research students.
2.5.7 Many of the factors affecting non-EU overseas student choices apply to EU students.
2.5.8 Additional factors affecting patterns of choice for EU students are tuition fee status and facilitated mobility through European Commission programmes.
2.5.9 Students in England will generally, under the new system, have more debt than they do now.
2.5.10 Students from England will have more debt if they study in England than if they were to study in Scotland under existing arrangements.
2.5.11 In the medium to long term Scotland's HE sector may be affected by a growing perception that HE in England is better funded as a result of increased income from variable tuition fees (and also possibly the concentration of research funding) leading to perceptions of better quality.
2.6 POLICY OPTIONS AND ISSUES TO MONITOR - STUDENTS
2.6.1 As of the current year, monitor the flow of applications, acceptances and entrants to Scottish HEIs - ensure that while cross-border student flows are not discouraged, Scottish applicants are not disadvantaged as a result of pressure on places from English students.
2.6.2 In the event of a sudden surge in applications to Scotland, be prepared to raise the cap on student numbers within the Scottish HE sector.
2.6.3 Maintain current arrangements ensuring that no English student coming to Scotland is disadvantaged in terms of fee liability as a result of the longer period of study required in Scotland when compared to an equivalent course in England. Monitor this policy in light of the actual pattern of fee charges in England, when this becomes more apparent.
2.6.4 Make an early announcement which ensures (before the beginning of academic year 2004/05) that Scottish students going to England from 2006 will be at least no worse off in terms of the assistance available to them for fee costs as compared to English students.
2.6.5 Closely monitor the demand for medical and related subjects within Scottish HEIs and if, over time, there is a distortion of current student flows, ensure that Scottish students, particularly from lower social class backgrounds, do not find it harder to enter such professional areas. This needs to be done over and above any work to address the current levels of recruitment from Scottish students into Scottish medical schools.
2.6.6 Work closely with DfES to ensure that next year's proposed investigation of the likely impact of variable tuition fees and graduate debt on wider access to key public sector professions takes account of the findings of both this report and of Sir Kenneth Calman's 'Review of Basic Medical Education'.
2.6.7 Monitor and assess the demand for HNC & HND study within Scotland in light of the promotion of the Foundation Degree in England.
2.6.8 Continue to support the needs of part-time and mature students and fully reflect the Executive's vision of lifelong opportunity through lifelong learning.
2.6.9 Continue to ensure that Scotland's HE system is encouraged and enabled to attract the best international students.
2.7 KEY FINDINGS - SOURCES AND USES OF INCOME
2.7.1 Although further work remains to be done on detailed modelling, the introduction of variable fees will clearly improve the relative financial positions of institutions in England, particularly those most able to charge at the highest rate.
2.7.2 Total income of Scottish HEIs in 2001/02 was 11.5% of income of all UK HEIs (compared to Scotland's 9% of the UK population). They received 13.2% of all UK research grant funding; nine out of 17 Scottish HEIs had research grant income above the median for UK HEIs, and three were in the top 20.
2.7.3 Review unable in timescale to consider exhaustively the potential ability of HEIs to grow non-government income streams. However, evidence reviewed to date suggests that within current models, the potential is limited.(Further research has been commissioned - see 6.10)
2.7.4 It is important to be careful not to confuse income with profit. The first call on most non-Funding Council income will be the specific activity for which it is provided by the funder in question and the capacity of the institution to generate a surplus on it will vary and for many types of funding will be nil or strictly limited.
2.7.5 Scottish HEIs obtained a lower percentage of their income from tuition fees than those in the UK as a whole in 2001/02. Regardless of any relative change to England, there is no reason to expect income from publicly-funded teaching in absolute terms to fall as long as HE demand in Scotland remains at current levels.
2.8 POLICY OPTIONS AND ISSUES TO MONITOR - SOURCES AND USES OF INCOME
2.8.1 A key issue is the level of Scottish Executive support for the activities the Executive looks to the HE system to provide.
2.8.2 Research commissioned under Phase 3 (awaiting outcomes) to identify, UK-wide, which institutions have been successful over the past 10 years at growing non-Funding Council income. Pending outcomes of this work, potential to apply good exemplars to Scottish HEIs with comparable potential (see 6.10).
2.8.3 Greater recognition needed from business and industry that expertise coming from HE sector needs to be paid for at full consultancy rates, and research paid for at full economic cost. The Executive should support HEIs in charging full market rates for services provided to others, such as consultancy to business or the Executive itself.
2.8.4 Consider the Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration, to examine potential to strengthen commercial links between business and HEIs.
2.8.5 While the review did not consider the impact of the new Intermediate Technology Institutes, Scottish HEIs should be in a good position to attract significant amounts of the 450 million earmarked for investment in these, although work remains to be done on how this relationship will function in detail over the next
2.8.6 Figures show untapped potential in terms of fee-paying non EU-students. The Executive is already increasing funding to Education UKScotland as central marketing function for Scottish education overseas. HEIs could benefit from more collaborative work in this area and the Executive should be closely involved in any UK initiatives such as development of the visa rules.
2.8.7 Endowments - publicise tax relief on charitable giving. Make charitable giving more attractive through changes in current regulations - the Executive is already in contact with DfES Taskforce examining specific proposals.
2.8.8 Consideration should be given to how Executive funding can be used most effectively to assist HEIs in levering in funds from other sources, whether public (such as Research Council) or private.
Glossary of Terms
BCIS - Building Cost Interp Service
DfES - Department for Education & Skills
DDA - Disability Discrimination Act
EIB - European Investment Fund
EMS - Estate Management Statistics
ETLLD - Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department
EU - European Union
FD - Foundation Degrees
FE - Further Education
FEC - Further Education College
FTE - Full Time Equivalent
GDP - Gross Domestic Product
HE - Higher Education
HEFCE - Higher Education Funding Council for England
HEI - Higher Education Institution
HESA - Higher Education Statistics Agency
HNC - Higher National Certificate
HND - Higher National Diploma
ITI - Intermediate Technology Institute
JIF - Joint Investment Fund
JMC - JM Consulting
JNCHES - Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff
LEC - Local Enterprise Company
MA - Modern Apprenticeship
OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PFI - Private Finance Initiative
R & D - Research and Development
RAE - Research Assessment Exercise
RICS - Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
RUK - Rest of the United Kingdom
SAAS - Student Awards Agency for Scotland
SCQF - Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
SFEFC - Scottish Further Education Funding Council
SHEFC - Scottish Higher Education Funding Council
SHOP - Scottish Heads of Personnel
SRIF - Science Research Investment Fund
SRIF 2 - Science Research Investment Fund 2
SR2004 - Spending Review 2004
SQA - Scottish Qualifications Authority
SVQ - Scottish Vocational Qualification
THES - Times Higher Education Supplement
TIF - Teacher Infrastructure Fund
TTA - Teacher Training Agency
UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
UCEA - The Universities and Colleges Employers Association
1 Source: HESA. HESA data does not include OU figures for Scotland throughout this report.