Higher education in Britain plays an important role in innovation especially at the university level. Higher education institutions that are at the centre of successful technology centres do more than just drive companies. They develop professionals who move between industries and academia; they nurture businesses and supply expertise by producing knowledge applied by businesses in technology; and they are public forums where people in various fields of research meet and share. These have led to many economic, social and political implications and expectations in Britain (Greenaway & Haynes, 2003).
Institutions of higher education play an integral role in both local and regional economies. Throughout Britain, these roles have received widespread recognition among local communities. People living within the locality of higher education expect benefits from the concerned institutions whether the benefit is economic or cultural. This is because of the significant contribution they make in the local and regional economy. The expenditure of these institutions is staggering, the local community benefit from direct, and multiplier effect of expenditure from the institution staff and the students. In addition, they contribute to employment, as they are able to absorb thousands of workers (Greenaway & Haynes, 2003). Institutions of higher education also play a very significant role in the cultural life of the locality and region. As a result, the quality of life within the local community is expected to improve.
Higher education institutions in Britain are expected to be centres of excellence. They spearhead research and provide consultancy services in the communities within their locality and region. There is mutual exchange of benefits between institutions of learning and the commercial sector whereby research contracts are awarded to the institutions and the students from the institutions provide skilled labour to industries. This leads to faster commercialisation of emerging technology (Greenaway & Haynes, 2003).
Implications of Higher Education funding in Britain
Funding of students in higher education in Britain has been on course for many years. Funding of higher education comes in various forms such as bursaries, scholarships, grants, and loans(Fazackerley, Smith & Massey, 2009). There are many students who come from low cost homes and they need to be supported through their higher education. Funding these students enable them to meet some of the expenses which would be hard without the funding. These needs include could be either direct or indirect including purchase of books, payment of tuition fees, and living expenses.
Student funding in Britain has far-reaching implications in terms of ensuring equity, equal opportunity, and social justice. There is a strong correlation between adequate funding of students and improved quality of education. Students from low income families can compete on equal footing with those from financially endowed families. Higher education is expensive and many students need funding in keeping the costs involved. For instance, a student needs enough funds to complete a research project, which is often an expensive exercise (Fazackerley, Smith & Massey, 2009).
The other aspect of student funding in higher education is competition from international students. In order to provide opportunity for students with British nationality in Britain, funding ensure that those students are given same opportunity as international students. A student from low-cost family cannot be expected to compete favourable with international students on scholarships or better financial background. Therefore, funding of students in institutions of higher education in Britain enables students to be supported through their education and raise the standards of education.