1992 universities/Pre-1992 universities
1992 universities are those which gained the ‘university’ title following the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. Pre-1992 universities are those which had the title before this date.

Access course
A course which helps prepare applicants without traditional academic qualifications for entry to higher education programmes.

Access Funds
Government funds provided to higher education institutions to assist students in financial difficulty. Institutions distribute these funds according to their own definitions of financial hardship.

Age participation rate/Age participation index (API)
The number of those aged under 21 entering higher education as a percentage of the average of the number of 18 and 19 year olds. In Scotland, the API is defined as the number of Scotland-domiciled entrants to full-time higher education anywhere in the UK who are aged 20 or under expressed as a percentage of the 17 year old population from the previous year.

Assessment of Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L)
The process of assessing and sometimes giving credit for a student’s previous experience and learning, for example gained in the work place, or other experience, not assessed or accredited by traditional qualifications.

Binary divide/line
The binary divide was the division of higher education into two sectors – the university sector and the ‘public’/polytechnic sector. The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 abolished the binary divide.

Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC)
BTECis a validating body which offers nationally recognised qualifications, including HNDs and HNCs (Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates). Following merger with the London Examining Board, it is now known as Edexcel.

Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP)
A representative body whose members include the Vice-Chancellors and Principals of all UKuniversities.

Communications and Information Technology (C&IT)
Those technologies which enable the processing, storage and transmission of both live and recorded information by electronic means.

Completion rate
The percentage of students who complete their programme of higher education. See also drop-out rate.

Continuing professional development (CPD)
Training and education undertaken by adults throughout their working lives.

Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA)
Established in 1964, the CNAA was responsible for the validation of programmes at public sector institutions (former polytechnics). The Further and Higher Education Act 1992 abolished the CNAA.

Credit accumulation and transfer (CAT)
Credit accumulation provides students with the opportunity to gain credit for their learning achievements which then count progressively towards an award. Credit transfer is an arrangement by which credits granted by one body are recognised by another.

Someone who has gained a diploma.

Distance learning
Learning through TV, radio, correspondence or via computer networks which takes place mainly at a distance from the educational institution responsible for the learning programme.

Drop-out rate/Wastage rate
The percentage of students who do not complete their programme of higher education.

Economically active population
Those in the population of working age (16-65) who are either in work or are looking for work.


Enterprise in Higher Education (EHE)
An initiative funded by the former Employment Department. EHE’s aims were to make higher education programmes more vocationally oriented and encourage students’ personal development via the improvement of transferable skills. Funding began in 1988 and ended in 1996.

External Examiner System
A quality assurance system operated by higher education institutions on the basis of peer review. External examiners are academics from another institution who verify the standards of the awards being made with the aim of ensuring that they are comparable across the sector.

Externalities (to higher education)
Economic benefits of higher education to society which are not captured by the additional average pay received by graduates (the ‘pay premium’) and so reflected in the ‘rate of return’. See Report 8 for more information.

The process by which an institution agrees to authorise another institution to deliver an approved programme while normally retaining overall control of the programme’s content, delivery, assessment and quality assurance arrangements.

Full-time equivalent (FTE)
Numbers of students are commonly given in FTEs. This simply means that students not studying full-time are given a weighting of less than one to reflect the amount of study they do in a given period of time. This helps to relate student numbers more accurately to, for example, resource needs and teaching time.

Funding Bodies
A collective term covering the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC), the Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI), and, where appropriate, the Teacher Training Agency (TTA).

Further education
Further education is provision for people over compulsory school age which does not take place in a secondary school and which falls within the scope of Schedule 2 to the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. Further education may take place in sixth form colleges, further education colleges or higher education institutions.

Further education college
An institution whose primary mission is the delivery of further education.

Further education funding bodies
A collective term covering the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC), the Further Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department (SOEID) and the Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland.

Further Education Funding Council (FEFC)
Established by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, the FEFC is responsible for funding sufficient and adequate facilities for further education in England. The Secretary of State for Scotland has this legal duty in Scotland, and the FEFCW in Wales.

Someone who has attained a degree.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The total value of goods and services produced during a period of time, usually calculated for nations or regions.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deflator
A multiplier used to convert current expenditure into equivalent expenditure in a base year, on the basis of price movements in the economy.

Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC)
Created by the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, HEFCs are responsible for the funding of higher education. They also aim to secure value for money from public expenditure and encourage improvements in the quality of education through the publication of institutional and subject assessment reports. There are HEFCs for England (HEFCE), Scotland (SHEFC), and Wales (HEFCW). The precise responsibilities of the bodies differ, and more detail can be found in Chapter 22.

The Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC)
The HEQC is a private company owned by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, the Conference of Scottish Centrally Funded Colleges (CSCFC) and the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP). It aims to: provide information on the methods used to ensure academic quality and standards, and to offer judgements on their effectiveness; as well as to provide institutions with a provisional agenda on how to improve and enhance the quality of their educational provision. The HEQC does this by considering and reviewing the mechanisms and structures used by individual institutions to monitor, assure, promote and enhance their academic quality and standards, in the light of their stated aims and objectives.

The primary higher education entry qualification inScotland. It is a one-year qualification, usually undertaken by school-leavers.

Higher degree
A qualification above a first degree such as a Masters degree or Doctorate.

Higher education
Educational provision above Level 3 (ie above A level and the Advanced level GNVQ) and its equivalents in Scotland.

Higher education institution
An institution whose primary purpose is the provision of higher education. This includes universities and colleges of higher education.

Higher National Certificate/Higher National Diploma (HNC/HND)
Sub-degree vocational qualifications awarded by Edexcel in England and by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in Scotland.

Home students
These are normally students resident in the United Kingdom.

Honours degree
A Bachelors degree with honours.

Income contingent loan
A loan where the level of repayments is based on an individual’s income. There is usually no repayment until the individual reaches a certain threshold earnings level.

Incubator unit
A commercially semi-sheltered environment where people can develop a business idea, for example a campus-based business receiving support from a higher education institution.

Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs)
A combination of an accumulation fund; a distribution fund; a loan/overdraft facility and a repayment mechanism which together could be used by individuals to fund their post-16 education and training.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT)
A programme which leads to a qualification as a teacher at primary and secondary levels. It always has a school-based component.

A collection of thousands of networks linked by a common set of technical protocols which make it possible for users of any one of the networks to communicate with or use the services located on any of the other networks. The Internet refers to the INTERnational NETwork.

Investors in People (IiP)
The national quality standard for investment in training and development to achieve business goals.

Key skills
A term used in this report to cover communication skills, numeracy, the use of information technology and learning how to learn. See Chapter 9 for more details.

Level 3 qualifications
A generic term covering A levels, NVQ Level 3, Advanced GNVQs and equivalent qualifications. This level of qualifications is that traditionally required for entry to higher education.

Lifelong learning
The practice of students of all ages and backgrounds pursuing education and training throughout life.

Public money distributed to students by local education authorities (LEAs), on a means tested basis, to cover their living costs.

Masters degree (MA, MSc, MPhil, MEd)
Programmes predicated on the assumption that those who undertake them have completed a Bachelors Degree or achieved comparable attainment.

Mature students
Mature undergraduate students are defined as those aged 21 or over on 1 August in year of entry. Mature postgraduate students are aged 25 or over on 1 August in year of entry.

Means test
A way of assessing financial need on the basis of an individual’s income and/or capital, or that of their family.

Modularisation involves dividing a programme of study into units (modules). The module should consist of coherent and explicit learning activities. Modules can vary in length. There is an agreed group of modules in order to obtain an award. In each programme there will usually be modules that are compulsory, with other optional modules taken from a wider choice.

National Curriculum
The framework for teaching and learning across a range of subjects and the associated assessment arrangements, laid down in Statute for all pupils of compulsory school age (5-16) attending state schools.

National Council for Vocational Qualifications
The agency responsible for designing and implementing the NVQ and GNVQ framework. It merged with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority in 1997 to form the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Ordinary degree
Except in Scotland, this usually describes a Bachelors Degree awarded without honours. In Scotland, it is a qualification usually characterised as having greater breadth than an Honours Degree and is a recognised exit point for students.

Overseas students
International students domiciled outside the European Union.

Pay premium
The percentage by which the average pay of one group exceeds that of another group.

Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
A postgraduate qualification leading to qualified teacher status.

Postgraduate student
A student on a programme of study which normally requires a first degree as a condition of entry.

Private rate of return
The benefit to an individual from participation in higher education. Usually derived from the additional earnings which a graduate will accrue over a lifetime, with an allowance made for the costs they incur, including earnings foregone during their time in higher education.

Programme of study
The study undertaken by a student that leads to a higher education award.

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR)
A measure of the extent to which the public sector has to raise cash, typically by borrowing, in order to finance that part of its expenditure not covered by revenue (eg taxation).

Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
A new independent agency responsible for ensuring and enhancing quality and academic standards. It was formed in July 1997 from a merger of HEQC and Funding Council quality assessment functions.

Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
A system used to allocate funds for research by the FundingCouncils. The exercise is conducted every 4 years and assesses the quality of research in Units of Assessment based on historical information. Institutions submit evidence of their research activity since the last exercise. The quality of research is rated from 1 to 5* by subject panels.

Resource based learning
A form of learning which makes extensive use of learning materials (whether in print or computer-based) and requires the student to undertake a self-directed approach to their learning. See Appendix 2 for more details.

Sandwich programme
A programme which contains a substantial work-based element.

School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA)
A body which exists to promote higher standards of achievement in schools by developing the curriculum and its assessment, and improving consistency and quality in public examinations. SCAA merged with the NCVQ in 1997 to form the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

A portion of the academic year. There are usually two semesters in a year, but sometimes three.

Single Regeneration Budget (SRB)
A fund of public money used to encourage local partners to work together to regenerate local areas in England.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Unless otherwise specified, this term is used loosely to describe organisations with fewer than 250 employees. More rigorous definitions are used, for example, in Appendix 4.

Social rate of return
A calculation which seeks to measure society’s return on its investment in higher education. The investment is the cost borne by society; and the return is the graduate’s additional productivity, for which their additional earnings are used as a proxy.

Socio-economic groups
These refer to the Standard Occupational Classification published by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS). The groups are: I – Professional; II – Managerial and technical occupations; IIIn – Skilled occupations, non-manual; IIIm – Skilled occupations – manual; IV – Partly skilled occupations; V – Unskilled occupations.

Staff-student ratio (SSR)
Expresses the number of students (normally calculated in FTEs) per member of academic staff.

Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP)
SCOP represents executive heads of colleges and institutions of higher education in the UK and promotes their interests to government, national and international agencies as well as to industry, commerce and the professions.

Sub-degree qualifications
Higher education qualifications below degree level, for example HNDs and HNCs.

Teacher Training Agency (TTA)
The body in England which is responsible for the funding of initial teacher training (ITT) provision and some other continuing professional development courses for teachers offered by higher education institutions. Its other responsibilities include accrediting providers of ITT, improving the quality and efficiency of all routes into the teaching provision, and ensuring an appropriate supply of high quality trained teachers.

Tertiary education
Usually taken to cover both further and higher education, but this term is variously interpreted. See Chapter 5 for more details.

Threshold standards
The minimum acceptable achievement (in terms of academic standards) for an award to be granted.

Top-up fee
A charge which could be levied by a higher education institution on students in addition to the existing recognised fees.

Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs)
There are 81 TECs in England and Wales which are responsible for funding all of the Government’s training schemes.

A student studying for a first degree, higher education certificate or diploma or equivalent.

The process by which a programme is judged to have met the requirements for an award by the relevant degree-awarding body, or the relevant examining board, or by an accredited institution.

World Wide Web
The World Wide Web (the ‘Web’) is a user-friendly interface to the Internet. The Web now connects a community which at the end of 1996 was around 50 million people and continues to grow rapidly. For the electronic community the Web is the equivalent of a town market place. Anyone who wishes can set up their own stall (ie establish their own ‘web site’). There will be those who want to advertise on the Web, those who want to buy or browse, those who want to let others know what they have found. A number of different software systems (‘browsers’) have been devised and marketed to allow individuals to ‘navigate’ the Web to find what they are looking for.