KIS of life
A report on higher education has been released that states that certain measures need to be put in place to better inform students from poorer backgrounds about their choices in higher education.
The report by author Gill Wyness, titled Informed Decisions: Tackling Inequalities in Higher Education, has brought to light a five-point plan to make information about university easily accessible in order to get more students from poorer backgrounds into higher education, and to inform them about the right choices regarding finance, courses and which universities will best suit their needs.
With the launch of Key Information Sets (KIS) due to start in September, Wyness feels this simply won’t be enough to reach out to those who are in most need of such pertinent and useful information.
KIS is a plan proposed by the government whereby all universities will be required to publish set information about their institutions. The information will include details such as student satisfaction, cost of the course, available financial support and average graduate employment rates and wages.
“The government need to be more proactive in its approach to information to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance of using it, and that everyone can realise their full potential,” said Gill in the report.
Gill’s belief is that those who are from poorer families are less likely to be able to reach this kind of information, and will be less aware of the benefits of going to university, and more likely to lack an understanding or guidance of the choices available with loans, grants and bursaries.
Gill’s five-point plan explains how this information could reach out to those who need it most, with suggestions of cash incentives to schools for providing this information to their students and ‘automatic enrolment’, meaning a certain percentage of students with high results will be automatically offered a place at university.
“School log ons to the KIS could be tracked and schools that make a real effort to engage their students in this information set should be rewarded,” the report states.
Other proposals from Gill include offering this information at GCSE stage, and help with filling out finance and application forms.
“Alerting students of GCSE age to the availability of grants and loans while studying, and more importantly to the possibility of higher earnings…should help these students make more informed decisions.”