ACU Insights #1 - November 2011

In this issue…

Does a university education still pay?

Recent reports from the UK, NZ and Canada, highlight that there is still a significant earnings premium associated with higher education, but with rising tuition fees, widening participation, off-shore provision and competition and technology developments, will greater pressure fall on the sector to demonstrate the monetary benefits of a higher education? 

Strategic responses to access

The opportunity to study at university is becoming available to more people, either where higher education systems are expanding (India, Singapore, Hong Kong) or commitments to widening participation are reviewed (Australia, UK). In practice, however, what does increasing access or widening participation mean, and what recommendations are being proposed? 

Making the most of what you’ve got

As public sector cuts bite deeper in many countries, universities are increasingly being asked to show that they spend their money well. A UK task group suggests that by simplifying operational and administrative processes universities might have much to gain. But what is the relationship between being more efficient and being more effective?

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The authors Nick Mulhern, Jonathan Harle, and Jay Kubler are always pleased to receive feedback on the usefulness and content of the ACU Insights briefing, as well as news from other Commonwealth countries which might be of wider interest. They can be contacted at