University backs plan for new £16k tuition fees

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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.”

9 comments

  1. 23 Oct ’13 at 12:42 pm

    Value equation

    The fact is, I can understand why Oxford or Cambridge would charge 16K – the value they provide is certainly above that (and 16K would be still lower than what equivalent institutions charge in the US).

    But York? Really? The university has been improving over time, but when it’s graduate prospects are still really bad and when many students do not get enough attention (e.g. we don’t really have the tutorials that Oxbridge has), I don’t see how 16K is justifiable.

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  2. 24 Oct ’13 at 11:53 am

    History student

    This term is costing me £3000 but in return I get 5 hours of teaching a week, two of which are with an unpaid post-grad. I can’t really see where my money is going especially when most the resources I’m using are dodgy photocopies of books online… I know students at Oxford studying history who get twice as many hours as well as tutorials with world-renowned historians in groups of two or three other students.

    Personally, I can’t see the justification for York to start charging even more than it already does except perhaps for degrees like engineering and medicine which are much more intensive and vocational and hence have much greater career prospects

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  3. Enough is enough. How come Universities were able to even keep going in the early 2000s when tuition was only 3000 pounds? Now they want 5 times that for the same service? Keeping up with the inflation? I think not. Someone is getting rich…

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  4. That’s bullcrap Kyle!

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  5. @Roger:

    The money universities receive per student hasn’t really changed in that time, in fact it’s gone down a little in the post-Browne review world. What’s different is that money is now coming from student fees rather than from the government directly.

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  6. £16,000 somebodies been smoking something. Either A) Somebody is deluding themselves in to thinking York is at the same level as Oxbridge or B) Some fat guy at the top wants more money to fund his weekly buffets. Probably the latter. Paying £9,000 as it is now and that more than covers my subject (Politics). My arse I or any other student will be paying 16k to study at York.

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  7. 25 Oct ’13 at 6:32 pm

    forgetaboutitall

    I think you’re all missing the point. Clearly this kind of move is going to have a terrible effect on less advantaged people who have high aspirations. The terrible representation of young people on free school meals, for example, in Russell Group universities is a travesty and this kind of absurd elitism is only going to exacerbate this problem. We should be encouraging the youth of today and tomorrow to actualise their ambitions and harness their talents, not burdening them with debt and dazzling them with 5 figure sums.

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  8. I would struggle to say that Oxbridge is definitely worth 16K – even Oxbridge grads aren’t guaranteed amazing job prospects. Regardless, York is a good university but paying £16K per year to study there is ludicrous. I really do hope that if York adopted such idiotically high fees, prospective students would give it the middle finger and not apply there.

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  9. Then why the fudge doesn’t the British government increase their budget for higher education from a measly 1.3%? This is just another case of universities/the government making the dream of a university education impossible to achieve for people from a lower socio-economic bracket. Is that what we want a society?

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