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Augar panel member questions competition between universities

Market forces in higher education have led to a rise in unconditional offers rather than greater innovation, a leading academic has said.

Alison Wolf, a panel member of the Augar review into post-18 education, said that the English marketisation of higher education is “not a very effective model” as the competition and innovation anticipated when fees were introduced has only partly materialised.

“Everybody expected price competition and innovation [when fees were introduced],” she said. “We have had a certain amount of competition, we have a large amount of competition in research funding…but we have had since then intense competition to enrol students—especially since number controls were lifted—and one of the most obvious results has been a huge increase in the number of unconditional offers made to 18-year-olds to try to get them to come to your institution.”

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