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Repayment threshold 'much higher than expected'

The threshold before graduates start paying back tuition fees is much higher than the Government originally planned, according to a former adviser to the Universities Minister.

The Government has got the maths wrong, plus the economy has changed. The £21,000 repayment threshold is in real terms much higher than the Government expected."

– Nick Hillman, former government adviser

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'Big funding gap' emerging in higher education

The Government 'got the maths wrong' on how much money the Treasury would recoup from student loans for new higher university tuition fees, a former ministerial adviser has claimed.

Universities Minister David Willetts is under pressure over tuition fees. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Nick Hillman, who worked for Universities Minister David Willetts said there was now a "big funding gap" emerging.

His claims follow new estimates suggesting the cost to the public purse of unpaid loans could eventually end up cancelling out the money raised by the move to raise fees to up to £9,000 a year.

UK spending on university 'comparable with Chile'

The UK needs to spend more on higher education if it does not want to lose its reputation as one of the best places in the world to study, the head of the Russell Group has said.

Wendy Piatt, Director General of the group, which represents 24 leading universities, said Government spending matched Slovakia and Chile - "far less" than its main competitors:

The UK was recently ranked as the best in the world for the quality of its research.

However, UK public spending on higher education and research is comparable with that of Slovakia and Chile, far less than competitors like the US, China and most western European countries.

And while we currently punch above our weight, only with increased, long-term investment in research will the UK's leading universities and hi-tech industries continue to compete on the world stage.

– Wendy Piatt

The Top 10 internationally ranked universities

  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • University of California, Berkley
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

UK loses 'three big-name universities' from top 100

British universities are dropping out of the international top 100, jeopardising their reputations as some of the best places in the world to study for a degree, according to research.

Cambridge University (above), one of the "golden triangle" institutions, was ranked at number four. Credit: PA

The Times Higher World Reputation Rankings showed a widening gulf a between the "golden triangle" institutions in London, Oxford and Cambridge and the rest of the nation.

Despite 10 UK institutions making it onto the list this year - one more than in 2013 - it is still a far cry from 2011 when 12 British universities were in the top 100.

Bristol University dropped out this year, while Leeds lost its top 100 place last year and Sheffield dropped out in 2012.

Rankings editor Phil Baty said: "The UK has lost three big-name universities from the list of the world's 100 most prestigious institutions since the rankings were first published in 2011."

He continued: "Given how important global reputation is in attracting top international talent, collaborations and investment, this is cause for concern. The UK has some of the world's biggest university brands: we must protect them."

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Cameron: Universities UK should review its guidance

The Prime Minster's spokesmen made clear that the PM wants a ban on gender-segregated audiences on campus even where men and women voluntarily separate themselves, but stressed that his comments did not relate to places of worship.

[The Prime Minister] does not believe that guest speakers should be allowed to address segregated audiences, so he believes that Universities UK should urgently review its guidance.

– The PM's spokesman told a daily Westminster media briefing

Student loans worth nearly £900m sold off

Nearly £900 million of student loans were sold off today as part of a Government drive to raise money to balance the nation's books.

The mortgage-style loans, which were taken out by students who began courses between 1990 and 1998, have been sold to a debt management consortium for £160 million.

Universities Minister David Willetts said the private sector was best placed to collect the outstanding debt Credit: PA Wire

Universities Minister David Willetts said the move represents "good value for money", and would enable the Student Loans Company to concentrate on administering more recent loans.

NUS president Toni Pearce said it was "extremely concerning" that the public would be subsidising a private company to make a profit from public debt.

University strikers: 'enough is enough'

One of the unions supporting university staff in their second strike over pay next month has said "enough is enough".

Union leaders claimed last month's strikes left many institutions across the country resembling "ghost towns". Credit: PA

Michael MacNeil, UCU's head of higher education, said: "Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay and have made it clear that enough is enough.

"We remain committed to trying to resolve this dispute and the employers now have until 3 December to sit down and positively engage with the unions.

"If they don't, then our members and those from our sister unions will be out on strike again, as well as continuing to work to contract."

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