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Michelle Donelan convenes sector taskforce

Daily meetings to be held with groups including UUK, Guild HE, Universities Alliance and Million Plus

Universities minister Michelle Donelan has convened a taskforce with higher education groups including Ucas, the Office for Students (OfS), Universities UK, Guild HE, the Russell Group, Universities Alliance, and Million Plus.

The first of what will be daily meetings took place yesterday (18 August). The taskforce will explore the challenges currently facing the higher education sector as it continues to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

Ms Donelan said last night: “We are working closely with the higher education sector to understand the challenges facing universities and provide as much support as we can. Today, I led the first meeting of our new taskforce and I will hold meetings every day with the sector to resolve these issues.

“We are supporting universities, including by announcing our intention to remove temporary student number controls and working with them to help them prioritise students and uphold their first choice either this coming year, or as a last resort the following year.

We announced a package of support for the sector during the pandemic, including bringing forward tuition fee and research funding, and a scheme to assess any restructuring support higher education providers may need.”

The Department for Education confirmed on Monday it will also axe the temporary student number cap to allow universities to accept more students who now have the required A-level grades following Monday’s A-level U-turn.

The government is also working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to lift restrictions on the number of students starting certain regulated courses, such as medicine, dentistry and nursing.

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