London Higher and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) London have joined forces to undertake a joint research project. The project, spanning 12 months, aims to find a way to measure the full societal benefits of HE in London that is accessible and meaningful to policymakers. The research hopes to dispel the myth that the benefits of higher education are purely economic and that students only fit in to the 18-21 age range, by focusing also on mature and postgraduate (PG) students.
The research will profile a range of different higher education providers in the capital to ensure a variety of missions and geographies are represented.
Dr Richard Boffey, Head of Access HE, London Higher said:
“We are pleased to be working with ARU on this project and hope to provide some useful insights into the value of higher education for individuals, for communities and for society as a whole. As our research will also look closely at the role of subject choice as well as provider type and location in shaping value, it will provide a rich and nuanced resource for policymakers to draw on when considering how the higher education sector can most effectively contribute to the levelling up agenda in different areas of the country. London, as a city with considerable sub-regional inequalities in HE participation and socio-economic deprivation, is a revealing case study.
Progression rates amongst young Londoners suggest that they need little convincing of the value of HE. But what of adults entering or continuing in HE in the capital? Our focus on mature and postgraduate students will help to expand existing understandings of value and consider what value looks like for those taking non-conventional routes into higher level study. This will, in turn, support the further development of integrated study pathways, for instance between FE and HE or between employers and HE.”
David Sexton, Principal, Anglia Ruskin University, London (ARUL) said:
“ARUL is delighted to be working with London Higher in researching the wider impact and value of HE, especially to mature students returning to education later in life. The current narrative focuses narrowly on economic benefits shortly after graduating, with the wider impact on the individual, family, and community generally ignored. We hope that this initial qualitative research will begin a counter-narrative leading to further study taking a holistic view on the real value and impact of HE in building a more sustainable and equal future.”