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Claire Callender

BSc, PhD
Professor of Higher Education Policy

Academic background

  • 2010–Present: Professor of Higher Education Studies, UCL Institute of Education, University of London
  • 2007: Visiting Scholar, Graduate School of Education, Harvard, USA
  • 2007–2008: Fulbright New Century Scholar
  • 2006 : Visiting Fellow, Center for the Study of Higher Education, Pennsylvania State University, USA.
  • 1998–2008: Professor of Social Policy, London South Bank University
  • 1999–2000: Cabinet Office, secondment, Head of Research, Women’s Unit
  • 1994–1998: Policy Studies Institute, London
  • 1989–1994: Institute of Employment Studies
  • 1987–1989: University of Bradford - Lecturer in Women's Studies
  • 1985–1987: University of Leeds - Lecturer in Social Policy
  • 1979–1985: University College Cardiff - Lecturer in Social Policy

Research and Teaching

Research interests

  • Ongoing studies
  • 2015–2020: ESRC/HEFCE Centre for Global Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education
  • 2012–2018: ESRC/LLAKES UCL Institute of Education, study on student attitudes to debt
  • Recently completed studies
  • 2012–2015: Nuffield Foundation (£70,000) to evaluate innovative higher education courses, designed for student parents
  • 2013–2014: Higher Education Academy (£20,000 – Co-Applicant) Managing the student experience in a shifting HE landscape
  • 2013–2014: Higher Education Funding Council (£163,636) A review of the National Student Survey with NatCen
  • 2011–2012: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (£206,000) to examine higher education provision in the Further Education sector with IoE/University of Sheffield
  • 2010–2011: UK Commission on Employment and Skills (£39,000) to assess the impact of part- and full-time undergraduate study on the labour market experiences of graduates and the implications for student funding
  • 2008–2011: Foundation Degree Forward (£91,601) this longitudinal study of part time Foundation Degree undergraduates and their employers is exploring students’ career making and employers’ attitudes to part-time students.
  • Other research interests include student funding and finances, widening participation, and the issues of access and equity in higher education.
  • 2007–2012: HECSU/BIS/fdf (£395,000) Part-time Students’ Career Making and Employers’ attitudes to part-time students: a national longitudinal study of part-time students at the start and end of their course drawn from 25 HEIs across the UK. The study aims to investigate part-time students' motivations, expectations and aspirations in studying, and how these influence their decision-making about work and careers. It will also investigate employers’ attitudes to staff studying part-time.


  • Higher education policy; funding and finances of higher education students, both in the UK and internationally; widening participation; part-time students.




Chapters in edited books

  • Callender, C (2016) 'Cost-sharing and student support' in Peter Scott, Jim Gallacher, and Gareth Parry (eds) New Landscapes and Languages in Higher Education, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Callender, C (2016) 'Lifelong Learning and Training' in Alcock, P., Haux, T., May, M., and Wright, S., The Student's Companion to Social Policy, 5th Edition, London: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Callender, C (2016) 'New modes of delivery: The threatened potential of part-time undergraduate education in England' in B.W.A. Jongbloed and J.J. Vossensteyn (eds) Access and Expansion Post-Massification: Opportunities and barriers to further growth in Higher Education Participation (International Studies in Higher Education), London: Routledge, p181-211.
  • Callender, C (2015) 'The 2012/13 Reforms of Student Finances and Funding in England: The Implications for the Part-Time Higher Education Sector' in J. Brada, W Bienkowski and M. Kuboniwa (eds) International Perspectives on Financing Higher Education, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan,pp 80-97
  • Callender, C (2013) Part-Time Undergraduate Student Funding and Financial Support in Callender, C and Scott, P (eds) Browne and beyond: Modernizing English Higher Education, London: Institute of Education Press, Bedford Way Papers pp 130-158
  • Callender, C (2013) Higher Education and Student Financial Support in England: All Change or no Change? In Paul Axelrod, Roopa Desai Trilokekar, Theresa Shanahan and Richard Wellen (eds) Making Policy in Turbulent Times: Challenges and Prospects for Higher Education, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Kingston, Canada pp139-166
  • Callender, C (forthcoming) New modes of delivery: the potential of part-time education in B.W.A. Jongbloed and J.J. Vossensteyn (eds) Access and Expansion Post-Massification:: Opportunities and barriers to further growth in Higher Education Participation Routledge, London
  • Callender, C (2013) The Funding of Part-time students in D. Heller and C. Callender (eds) Student Financing of Higher Education: A Comparative Perspective , International Studies in Higher Education Routledge, London p115-136
  • Callender, C (2012) The 2012/13 Reforms of Higher Education in England: Changing Student Finances and Funding in Majella Kilkey Gaby Ramia and Kevin Farnsworth (eds) (2012) Social Policy Review 24: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, Bristol: Policy Press. p 75-93
  • Callender, C  (2012) Lifelong learning and training in Pete Alcock, Margaret May and Sharon Wright (eds)  Student’s Companion to Social Policy – Fourth Edition, Blackwells, Oxford  p345-351
  • Callender, C. and Heller, D. (2009) Higher Education – can we afford not to invest in human capital? in C Oppenheim  and T Dolphin (eds) Opportunity in an Age of Austerity Institute for Public Policy Research, London pp 38-42
  • Callender, C. and Heller, D. (2009) The Future of Student Funding in K. Withers (ed) First Class? Challenges and opportunities for the UK’s university sector, Institute for Public Policy Research, London pp 56-72
  • Callender, C. (2009) Institutional aid in England: promoting widening participation or perpetuating inequalities?' In J Knight (ed)Financing Access and Equity in Higher Education:, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam
  • Callender, C. (2008) 'The Changing nature of student funding policies in Britain' in M. Kobayashi (ed) World Perspectives Of Financial Assistance Policies and future Policy Reform in Japanese Higher Education, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Callender, C. (2008) 'Lifelong learning and training' in Pete Alcock, Maggie May and Karen Rowlingson (eds) Student’s Companion to Social Policy – Third Edition, Blackwells, Oxford
  • Callender, C. (2007) 'Students’ Attitudes to Debt' in Moti Gokulsing (ed) The New Shape of University Education in England: Interdisciplinary Essays Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY pp 139-155
  • Callender, C. (2006) 'The impact of tuition fees and student support on access to HE in Britain', in Johnstone, D.B.; Rosa, M.J.; Vossensteyn, H.; Teixeira, P.N. (eds) Cost-sharing and Accessibility in Higher Education: A Fairer Deal? (Eds.) Springer, Netherlands, pp105-132
  • Callender, C. (2006) 'Dalle borse di studio ai prestiti in Inghilterra:gli effettti sull’accesso agli stuudi universitari' - L. Biggeri e G. Catalano, L'efficacia delle politiche di sostegno agli studenti universitari: l'esperienza italiana nel panorama internazionale, a cura di, Bologna, Il Mulino pp 223-247

Journal articals

  • Callender, C., and Mason, G. (forthcoming). Does student loan debt deter higher education participation? New evidence from England. Annals of American Political and Social Science.
  • Temple, P., Callender, C., Grove, L., and Kersh, N., (2016) Managing the student experience in English higher education: differing responses to market pressures. London Review of Education 14:1, 33-46.
  • Callender, C and Little, B  (2014) The hidden benefits of part-time higher education study to working practices: is there a case for making them more visible? Journal of Education and Work 28:3, 250-272.
  • Callender, C (2014) Student numbers and funding: Does Robbins add up? Higher Education Quarterly 68: 2 pp 164–186
  • Callender, C and Wilkinson, D (2013) Student perceptions of the impact of bursaries and institutional aid on their higher education choices and the implications for the National Scholarship Programme in England. Journal of Social Policy Volume 42, issue 02, pp. 281-308.
  • Callender, C (2011) Widening participation, social justice and injustice: part-time students in higher education in England, International Journal of Lifelong Education Vol. 30: 4, 507–525
  • Bursaries and Institutional Aid in Higher Education in England: Do they safeguard access and promote fair access? (2010) Oxford Review of Education Vol 36:1 pp.45-62.
  • Callender, C. (2008) 'The Impact of Term-time Employment on Higher Education Students’ Academic Attainment and Achievement', Journal of Education Policy Vol 23, Issue 4, 359-377
  • Callender, C. and Jackson, J (2008) 'Does Fear of Debt Constrain Choice of University and subject of study?' Studies in Higher Education Vol 33 No 4, 405-429
  • Callender, C. and Jackson, J (2005)'Does Fear of Debt Deter Students from Higher Education?' Journal of Social Policy Vol 34/4 pp 509-540
  • Edwards, R., Callender, C. and Reynolds, T. (2005) 'Social and Family Responsibility or Self-interest? A Case Study of Mothers’ Work Ethos in a Hospital and an Accountancy Firm', Community, Work, and Family Issue 8:3 pp 281-300

Recent lectures

  • 2016
  • ‘Does student loan debt deter HE participation? ’University of Pennsylvania – conference on Student Debt – keynote, 26 Aug 2016
  • ‘Stemming the demise of part-time study’ – Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge- seminar paper, 22 July 2016
  • ‘Student debt – initial findings’ , Centre for Higher Education Studies UCL, Institute of Education, London - seminar paper,7 June 2016
  • Student debt and applying to university: Early findings’ - LLAKES, UCL, Institute of Education, London - seminar paper, 22 March, 2016
  • ‘Student mothers’ - Dept of Sociology, University of Leicester – seminar paper, 9 March, 2016
  • Conference opening address, Centre for Global Higher Education- UCL, Institute of Education, London , Feb 2016
  • 2015
  • Student debt, higher education participation, and intermediate skills development– Initial findings, Society for Research into Higher Education, Annual Conference, Newport, 9 Dec, 2015
  • The crisis in part-time higher education and the mature student: Finding a way forward, UALL, Annual Seminar, London 19 Nov, 2015
  • Reforming higher education funding in England - have the 2012/13 reforms worked? – Keynote - Canada International Conference on Education (CICE-2015), University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada, 25th June 2015
  • Two for the price of one: Widening participation and tackling child poverty’ – Keynote – SRHE/UALL Conference on Researching and Evaluating Widening Participation – Mature and part-time students: Accessing and succeeding in HE, London, 13 April,
  • ‘Cost-sharing and student financial support’ Conference on New Languages and Landscapes for Higher Education University of Warwick, 26 -27 March
  • ‘The Wider relationship between policy and research’-Keynote – UUK/OFFA conference Your student financial model and its contribution to access, retention and success, 11 March
  • 2014
  • Funding in further and higher education, Knowledge Economy Conference , London, 25 Nov
  • Access to Higher Education in England, keynote lecture the Auditorium Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, Portugal, Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, 13 Nov
  • Access to Higher Education in England, keynote lecture -  University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal, Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, 12 Nov
  • Part-time student funding.– Keynote at  Ireland International Conference on Education, Dublin 28 October
  • 2013
  • Does Robbins add up? Conference on Robbins, IoE, London 24, Oct
  • Funding of part-time students across Europe’. Conference: Financing Higher Education in search of effective solutions based on best practices in North America, Europe, and Asia (28-29 June ). Warsaw, Poland
  • Inside Government on The Future of the Higher Education Curriculum. The Benefits of Part-Time Study and the Higher Education Curriculum (3 June).
  • The Impact of party-time study and its benefits, Westminster Briefing, 28 May, London
  • Part-time student funding: Post the 2012/13 Reforms All Party Parliamentary University Group, House of Commons, 23 April,
  • The Benefits Of Part-Time Study: What can higher education contribute to improving social mobility in the UK?  Higher Education Academy, 27 March
  • Part-time students – what is wrong with the 2012/13 reforms? Council for the Defence of British Universities, London 20 March
  • Austerity in the United Kingdom: Dramatic impact, uncertain future - "Academia in the Age of Austerity Conference" – OCUFA, January 10-11, 2013 in Toronto
  • 2012
  • The reforms of student finances in England’ Tuition fees - Economic and social issues on access to higher education, University Paris 7, 14 December
  • "Higher Education in Further Education: The student perspective", SRHE Annual Research Conference 2012, Newport, 12 December
  • Futuretack:part-time students – learning alongside employment [Keynote] at Conference on The Changing relationship between higher education and the graduate labour market, Manchester, 7 November
  • Part-time Higher Education: Access in the new fees regime. [Keynote]  UALL AGM, London, 29 November
  • A changing landscape of financial support for part-time students & the benefits of PT study Conference on  Part-Time, Distance & Flexible Study in Higher Education  London, 23 Oct
  • Which? Meeting of Expert Review Group, 5 July
  • National Association of Student Money Advisors Annual Conference, [keynote] Liverpool, 2 July
  • Conference chair: Opening up Higher Education: Students At the Heart of the System’ London 17th April
  • Policy Formation in Postsecondary Education: Issues and Prospects in Turbulent Times conference Higher education student financial support in England: All Change or no change?   [keynote] University of York, Toronto, 16 March,
  • Financing higher education, Allied Social Sciences Association, Chicago, 7 January
  • 2010
  • The Future of UK HE, University of Birmingham 7th December
  • Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Conference, Higher Education Scholarship and Public Policy: What is the Optimal Alignment Indianapolis, Indiana November
  • The Browne Review and the changing nature of student financial support in England, University of Kent, 29 November
  • The future of part-time student financial support, Institute of Education, 2 November
  • Part-time, distance and flexible study in Higher Education A new deal for part-time and distance students? [keynote] -  Neil Stewart Conference 26 October
  • HE Zone Conference [keynote], NUS, October
  • OECD IMHE General Conference on  “Higher Education in a World Changed Utterly. Doing More with Less”,  Paris, 13-15 September
  • They are free money” - the impact and effectiveness of bursaries on student behaviour in England - Social Policy Association Annual Conference, University of Lincoln, 5 July
  • Institutional Grant Aid in the United States and England: A Comparative Analysis, Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Conference, Higher Education Scholarship and Public Policy: What is the Optimal Alignment Indianapolis, Indiana November
  • The Browne Review and the changing nature of student financial support in England, University of Kent, 29 November.
  • The future of part-time student financial support, Centre for Higher Education Studies, Institute of Education.
  • After Browne: Part-time student funding Part-time, distance and flexible study in Higher Education - Neil Stewart Conference 26 October
  • Instiutional Bursaries in England and the United States: A comparative analysis, OECD IMHE General Conference on “Higher Education in a World Changed Utterly. Doing More with Less”, Paris, 13-15 September
  • Part-time Higher Education: Issues and solutions Higher Education and Learning through life HEFCE/NIACE seminar series, 6 September
  • 'They are free money' - the impact and effectiveness of bursaries on student behaviour in England - Social Policy Association Annual Conference, University of Lincoln, July
  • Funding the graduates of the future – options for policy for part-time students Westminster Education Forum [keynote] Seminar: The future of universities - funding and access, London, 24 June
  • Futuretrack Part-Time Students:Their Use Of Careers Information, Advice, And Guidance Open University conference, “Widening Participation in the 21st Century: A Decade of Learning” Open University, Milton Keynes [Keynote] 24 June
  • What the Research Tells Us about student financial capability, Financial Services Authority – Financial capability conference, London, 9 June
  • The funding of part-time students: the challenges ahead Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning Conference on “Re-positioning part-time Study in Higher Education”, Birkbeck, University of London [Keynote] 14 May
  • Part-time undergraduate financial support in England Forum for Access Continuing Education (FACE) and the Educational Access Research Network (EARN) Seminar on “At what cost? The impact of Finance on Access to Higher Education”,[Keynote], University of Westminster, London, 29 April
  • The great student fees debate British Universities Finance Directors' Group, Annual Conference on "Financing Sustainable Higher Education", [Keynote], University of Edinburgh, 30 March
  • Guardian Higher Education Summit, Panel member for session on “Widening Participation Social mobility, social justice and access to higher education,” London 11 March
  • 'Career decision making and the career development of part-time Foundation degree students' Fdf research seminar, Work Foundation, London [Keynote] 21 Jan
  • 2009
  • Money Matters: the impact of bursaries and scholarships in England on widening higher education participation and access – institutional and student perspectives SRHE Annual Conference, Newport, Dec
  • What Factors facilitate and hinder part-time undergraduate provision?:HEIs’ perspective [Keynote]National Conference The future for part-time and distance study, London, Oct
  • Bursaries and Scholarships in England: Are they helping to widen participation? NASMA Annual Conference, Stratford upon Avon, July
  • Money Matters: Institutional Bursaries in Higher Education in England Institute of Education, London June
  • Institutional Bursaries in Higher Education in England: Findings from the OFFA Research, Nuffield Foundation, May
  • Student bursaries: winners and losers 1994 Group Conference, University of Loughborough, March
  • Student funding revisited, UCL, London Jan
  • Part-time students NUS Annual Conference, Coventry, Jan
  • 2008
  • 'Bursaries and institutional aid in higher education in England: do they safeguard and promote fair access?' SRHE Annual Conference 2008, University of Liverpool, 10 Dec
  • 'Financing tertiary education: Challenges and opportunities for the future', Higher Education 2030:What futures for quality access in the era of globalisation? France OECD International Conference, Paris, 8 Dec
  • 'Do institutional bursaries widen participation?' AUA London Region Conference, London, 12 Nov
  • 'The True Costs of College: Reflections on changes in the last decade', Learning & Skills Network/National Union of Students Research event, London, 6 Nov
  • 'Futuretrack:part-time student exploring the issues' 4th Annual Part-Time Study in Higher Education Conference, Barbican Conference Centre, London, 23rd October
  • 'Student bursaries: winners and losers', FACE Annual Conference, York St John University, 2 July
  • 'Bursaries in England – are they hindering or enhancing widening participation?', Institute of Education, London 2 June
  • 'Lifelong learning under threat: funding and part-time students?' ‘Lifelong learning, power and social change’ BILL Conference, Birkbeck, 30 May
  • 'Bursaries and Widening participation' Keynote speaker, AUA Annual Conference, University of York, York, 1 April
  • Changing student funding: Winners and Losers, Birkbeck College, Public Lecture Series, 10 March
  • 2007
  • ‘Student funding in the UK'Cost, Access and Equity in Higher Education, Boston College, Boston, 30 Nov
  • 'Changing student finances in the UK', Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, USA, 20 Nov
  • Spotlight on part-time student – Are they being left in the wing?, Uniad breakfast seminar, London, 3 Sept
  • 'Equity and Access' The Dearing Report: Ten Years on Conference, Institute of Education, London 25 July
  • 'With a little help from my friends: Student Friendships in Higher Education', Education and the Social World: Critical Perspectives Seminar Series, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University, 9 July
  • 'Fair finance for part-time students?' Sustainable Higher Education Funding for the 21st Century, London 26 June
  • 'Understanding part-time students and supporting them effectively' Widening Participation in Higher Education 2007, UUK/Action on Access, 10 May
  • 'Part-time student: a nation context', Part-time students in higher education: motivation and benefits conference, Birkbeck, University of London, 22 March
  • ‘Part-time students and their funding: the challenges ahead' Keynote speaker, Parliamentary University Group, House of Commons, 20 March
  • 'Part-time students: The Forgotten Hundreds and Thousands', Research Seminar Series, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, 21 February
  • 2006
  • 'Student Funding in England','Worldwide Perspectives of Financial Assistance Policies: Searching Relevance to Future Policy Reform for Japanese Higher Education'. Keynote speaker. The Task Force for International Comparative Studies of Financial Assistance Policies, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, & The Center for Research Development of Higher Education, the University of Tokyo, Japan, 6 December
  • 'Policy Exercise Workshop for Policy Formation', The University of Tokyo, Japan, 7 December
  • 'Funding part time students – the hidden issue', Keynote speaker, BSA/SRHE The Student Experience Study Group, University of the West of England, Birmingham, 31 October
  • 'Funding part-time study: the forgotten students' Keynote speaker, Universities UK, House of Commons, London, 26 October
  • 'Understanding the markets for part-time education', Keynote speaker, 2nd Annual Conference Part-time Study in Higher Education: Frameworks for the Future, London,26 October
  • 'Student funding: key issues and challenges', Researching Higher Education Policy and Social Justice,SRHE Policy Network, London, 24 October
  • 'Changing student finances – lessons from Britain' - Graduate School of Education, The State University of New York at Buffalo, USA, 11 October
  • 'The Reforms of Student Funding in Britain' - Center for the Study of Higher Education, Pennsylvania State University, USA, 5 October-
  • 'Family, Social capital and Higher Education', Diverse Britain: Social Practice and Social Policy FSC Conference, London South Bank University, London, 8 September
  • 'FE students, tuition fees and the new skills strategy', Keynote speaker, Paying for learning – what next? Institute of Public Policy Research/CfBT, London 5 September
  • 'The skills strategy, tuition fees and paying for learning in FE’, Elizabeth Nuffield Education Fund Committee, Nuffield, London, 5 July
  • 'Part time students: A fair system of student support?' Nuffield Education Seminar Series, Nuffield Foundation, London, 22 June
  • 'FE students, tuition fees and the new skills strategy' Launch of the Paying for Learning Study, location, Cabinet Office, May
  • 'The Market for Part-time HE - Trends, Issues and Projections', Keynote speaker Higher Education Futures, The Knowledge Partnership Spring Conference, Cambridge University, 2 April (keynote)
  • ‘Part time students: the forgotten thousands’, Keynote speaker, Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) Annual Conferences, Warwick University, March
  • ‘Part time studying in HE in Wales: Results from a Survey of Students' Attitudes and Experiences of Part time study and its costs’, Graham Review on Part time study in Wales, Cardiff, Feb
  • 'Term-time employment and its impact on the academic attainment of full-time students' House of Commons, Portcullis House, Feb

Professional membership and awards

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Society for Research into Higher Education
  • Member of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences
  • Member of the Society for Research into Higher Education's Research and Development Committee

Contact details

Room: G06, 26 Russell Square
Department of Psychosocial Studies
Birkbeck, University of London
London  WC1E 7HX

Tel: +44 (0)20 7631 6624