The University has said it would support the Russell Group in backing the idea of raising tuition fees if institutions are to remain “internationally competitive.”
Two weeks ago the Russell Group defended the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Andrew Hamilton’s view, that leading universities should be able to charge substantially more than the current £9000-a-year fee regime.
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, has criticised the University’s position on any further fee rises.
This could see tuition fees at leading universities rising to a minimum of £16,000 per year in line with inflation, which Professor Hamilton says is the minimum required to plug the funding shortfall.
A University of York spokesperson said: “The University of York made a decision in 2011 to set home undergraduate tuition fees for the academic year 2012/13 at £9,000.
“This remains the position, though the University has had to revise downward its income projections and spending plans because home undergraduate tuition fees have not been increased in line with inflation.”
The University added: “We support the Russell Group view that this matter will need to be revisited if UK universities are to remain internationally competitive, and if we are to continue to invest in improving the student experience.”
Speaking at the annual Oration to the University of Oxford, Professor Hamilton said some universities were, “comfortably covering the cost of what they want to provide for their students”.
However, commenting on the current £9000-a-year fee regime, he added: “Greatly reduced Government spending on teaching [has] done little to change the basic financial equation.”
He added the real cost of an Oxford education is “at least £16,000 per undergraduate every year”.
Taylor said: “I completely sympathise with universities across the country here. They’re facing a squeeze on income as inflation rises past the cap on fees, and students – as they absolutely should – are demanding more for their money.
“Our sympathy begins to lag though with any institution which continues to generate a huge surplus, year on year. The University of York last year scaled to over £9 million, which is in fact a jump from an average of around £5/6 million over the last 5 years.
“To then pass the buck onto students to further top up these generous surpluses are quite frankly shocking.”
Taylor continued: “The Russell Group, and York University reps within it, should instead be lobbying the Government to invest more than the current 1.4% of GDP into Higher Education, which is meager, compared to an international average of 1.7%.”
Wendy Piatt, Director of the Russell Group, commenting on the announcement made by the Oxford Vice Chancellor, warned:
“Our leading institutions cannot continue to be internationally competitive, provide a first-rate teaching experience and offer generous support to disadvantaged students without access to increased funding.”