University transfer Goodricke College to private company in multi million pound deal

Graham Gilbert of the University of York, Alan Syers of the Evans Property Group and Philip Ashworth of Dickinson Dees, at Goodricke Collge. Image credit: York Press

Graham Gilbert of the University of York, Alan Syers of the Evans Property Group and Philip Ashworth of Dickinson Dees, at Goodricke Collge. Image credit: York Press

The University of York have formed a joint venture with Evans Property Group to own and run the newly built Goodricke College accommodation on Heslington East, in one of the biggest property transactions the City of York has seen this year.

The multi-million pound deal, between the University and the Leeds-based company, will transfer the 589-room student accommodation to private ownership, while also giving Evans full control over the running of the college facilities.

Graham Gilbert, finance director of the University, called it an “important” and “innovative” transaction, which “has enabled us to liberate significant funds for the further development of our estate while allowing us to make an investment in student accommodation”.

The college, which was officially opened by Prince Andrew earlier this year, features three accommodation blocks, a large communal common room, laundry facilities and offices for staff.

Alan Syers, Portfolio Director of Evans Property Group, stated his company’s satisfaction with the deal: “As long term investors in property, we value our relationships with our partners. We expect that this innovative approach to the ownership and management of student accommodation will deliver long term benefits to both partners.”

While the deal has proved lucrative for the University, concerns have been raised that it indicates a worrying trend of the privatisation of University facilities. With Alcuin College also being managed by an outside private firm, there is a fear that the running of the University will be focused completely on profit rather than what is most beneficial to students.

One second-year student commented: “It’s just further evidence that the University is becoming more of a business venture, just looking to make more money so that those at the top can keep earning their ridiculously inflated salaries.”

However, Tim Ngwena, YUSU President, expressed his support for the joint venture: “The new venture allows the University to reinvest some locked capital back into legacy estate on Heslington West. When students return at the beginning of the coming term, they will see these benefits mostly on Heslington West but also the new facilities on Heslington East.”

Philip Ashworth, a partner of Dickinson Dees, the law firm who oversaw the transaction, stated that the deal is “one of the most significant… in York over the past 12 months”. He added that it “enables the University to keep an interest in Goodricke College, while sharing the responsibility of ownership with one of the leading development and investment companies in the north of England”.

25 comments

  1. haha… why is it worrying? This is similar to the arrangement that is in place in Alcuin.

    It frees up capital to allow further investment- sounds a very good policy to me.

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  2. Why is the hunt for profits good? Six out of the top ten universities in the world are private.

    A.

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  3. Only sick socialist students would ‘worry’ about this new investment for the University

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  4. @Aris This isn’t a hunt for profit it is turning capital into cash so that the uni can continue investing! In a time of economic pressure this, to me, seem extremely wise.

    I don’t understand your second point- it seems to contradict the first – or am I missing something?

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  5. and 9 out of 10 people in the world can’t afford to pay for them regardless of their academic skills.

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  6. @-_-

    Out of the best unis in the world, it’s the private ones that offer the best bursaries for poor people, actually. A person whose parents earn less than ~$60,000 (it was this figure when I last looked) can get accommodation, tuition fees, living expenses and travel expenses (including international flights) paid for them, if they get into Harvard. The admission process is needs blind, as well, which means that if you’re good enough, you’re in.

    The only state-funded US uni that can compete with the top private unis, Berkeley, offers nothing like this level of help to its entrants unless you’re from California. UK unis, all of which (except Buckingham) are state-funded, offer very little help to people from outside of the EU, also.

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  7. Top US financial aid programmes are excellent. Through investment, privatisation, high fees from those who can afford it and very generous alumni donations Harvard and chums can afford the best students. Our universities on the cheap can’t compete, good job York, let’s get more capital into the university. I’d like increased fees but noone’s going to agree with me there.

    Alcuin is an extremely good model to follow, I haven’t seen better accommodation anywhere in the country, I was glad to spend my first year there. If all future developments follow in this style then we will have money and outstanding living standards in our colleges.

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  8. If you like private unis so much then feel free to quit York and go to Buckingham.

    Oh no, wait, it’s appalling and staffed by crackpots and conspiracy theorists.

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  9. @Yay

    You are right. It is neither the poor nor the rich who are left out. It is those in the middle who bear the brunt, as they are faced with exorbitant levels of debt and increasingly questionable prospects.

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  10. @Yay:
    Harvard’s hardly a typical example. Not all private Universities are fortunate enough to have the luxury of their generous, fairly rich alumni base and steady income streams.

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  11. 20 Aug ’10 at 9:36 pm

    The Anonymoose

    The primary reason why Oxford and Cambridge can compete with Harvard, Yale, etc. is, because they own vast tracts of land, they are wealthy institutions that can afford to fund much more research than most other universities.

    Buying a lot of land isn’t really an option for most institutions, so the second best alternative is to attract private investment. So I think it’s good news if it frees up capital towards York becoming a more research orientated university.

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  12. I think only two of Alcuin’s blocks (those nearest the Porter’s Lodge) are under a private scheme – the rest of the blocks are owned and managed by the University.

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  13. 21 Aug ’10 at 11:19 am

    ex-Alcuin JCRC

    No, the entire of the new blocks (KLMNPQ) were transferred to a private company – I was on the JCRC when we were consulted about it. I’m unsure if the other quad is too.

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  14. @ ~S

    Harvard may offer the best aid programs, but the private US unis considered to be top ten in the world all offer similar schemes to Harvard that aren’t quite as generous.

    @-_-

    The under $60,000 figure is what you need to be to get all expenses paid. Beyond that you steadily decreasing portion of your expenses paid by Harvard. Other top private universities are the same.

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  15. 24 Aug ’10 at 1:15 pm

    Realism- not ideology

    It is a fact that private universities are better. Whether or not you agree with this reality on an ideological level or not, you can’t really disagree.

    Goodricke JCRC have to be ready to lobby their new owners into investing in the student experience at Goodricke. If executed well, with business head screwed on, Goodricke could secure a pretty amazing budget for banter.

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  16. 24 Aug ’10 at 2:26 pm

    bad sentence award goes to....

    “Whether or not you agree with this reality on an ideological level or not, you can’t really disagree.”

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  17. 24 Aug ’10 at 3:06 pm

    ex-Alcuin JCRC

    tbh, it’s not really a fact that private Unis are better. There are some outstanding private Unis, admittedly, but not in this country. The only private Uni is in fact pretty dire.

    As for the new owners of Goodricke, I would imagine that they’ll have absolutely nothing to do with the college at all. If it’s the same as the way Alcuin was sold, it’s on some sort of leaseback scheme so the Uni will be managing it exactly the same way as before. It’ll change nothing for students, it’s just a way of releasing capital, presumably which can be used to finish Hes East…

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  18. “It is a fact that private universities are better.”

    Then why is Westminster shit?

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  19. by which I meant ‘Buckingham’. Fail.

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  20. 24 Aug ’10 at 3:53 pm

    Boom Boom Boom Let Me Hear You Say Bayo, Bayo

    It represents a rather loose interpretation of the term ‘ideology’ as well.

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  21. 24 Aug ’10 at 8:08 pm

    Boom Boom Boom Let Me Hear You Say Bayo, Bayo

    Don’t kick yourself, it’s an easy mistake to make. Westminster is also shit.

    But not quite as spectacularly so as Buckingham.

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  22. This was always the plan, freeing up money to invest in the other buildings (and Langwith) on Hes East. The Private Unis debate is nothing to do with private accommodation – it’s just a matter of the profit from them not going to the uni. But there are strict rules in place on how they deal with the accommodation and nobody’s complained about the Hes West blocks that are privately owned..

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  23. 31 Aug ’10 at 8:20 pm

    Goodricke student

    Very worrying and short-sighted. I had friends in a privately managed Alcuin block who, during a very cold winter, were told by porters that heating had been repeatedly turned off by the private contractors to ‘save money’ despite student and university requests to have it turned on.

    Businesses exist to make profit. This is their primary consideration. Students and the university will lose out in the long term.

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  24. 1 Sep ’10 at 6:18 pm

    Janny Chollen

    waaaah I’m cold

    pop a bloody jumper on, whining bloody students

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