HEFCE : Literature Review and Advisory Study icon

HEFCE : Literature Review and Advisory Study

We undertook a rapid evidence assessment to consider the provision of information about Higher Education available to prospective students for the UK Higher Education Funding Bodies. Substantial changes within the UK HE sector means that decisions about whether or not to enter into Higher Education and what to study have a potentially greater financial impact on individuals and families than ever before. This context has created a need to provide accurate, relevant and accessible information to support prospective students to enable them to make the best decisions for them.

Our Advisory Study brought together a wide range of studies from the fields of philosophy, sociology, and economics to help build a framework of knowledge to explain the decision-making processes of prospective HE students. For example, the Advisory Study shows that students are becoming more considered in their choice-making and that information is being acquired with greater involvement by prospective students, their parents and other stakeholders.  Yet at the same time it has been observed that students are often unable to process the large volumes of rankings, indicators and scoreboards that they are presented with which all relate to universities and specific courses.  Moreover, our Advisory Study shows that applicants are not always well advised about options (e.g. education and career options) and that universities are not always sufficiently selective or considered in the provision of information.

Dr Abigail Diamond image

Key project contact

Dr Abigail Diamond

Abigail joined CFE in 2008 and has been managing director since 2012. With over 11 years’ experience in social research that spans both consultancy and academia, she has led a number of large, complex evaluations into labour market outcomes; further and higher education; and workforce development. A key focus of her recent work has been the application of behavioural economics to understanding student choice and she produced a UK review of the provision of information about higher education. She also has a keen interest in the role of technology in education; leadership and cultural change. Abigail is also a visiting fellow at Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University.