How does SUSU continue its fight against Higher Education changes? YOU decide…
It’s amazing to think that a year ago on Wednesday, Lord Browne presented his Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance.
Who’d have imagined how much it was proposing to dramatically change the Higher Education landscape, including removing the cap on the level of fees that universities can charge, and increasing the income level at which graduates must begin to pay back their loans to £21,000?
Whilst the Browne Review wasn’t implemented in its entirety by the coalition Government, it’s still been a hectic year for Higher Education, which has only got worse for students starting University in 2012.
Since the Review, funding to the Higher Education sector has been cut by 80%, and the coalition Government have not only increased the cap on fees to £9000, but they have also suggested a series of further changes in its White Paper, which will damage the quality and accessibility of a University education for prospective students.
Having seen the cap fail to establish the market economy it wanted to, the Paper will do two things: firstly, it will create a dangerous and undesired tiered system within Universities, through the introduction of an AAB boundary, having a detrimental effect on widening participation; and second, it will burden future students with an unbelievable level of debt, due to the changes to the rate of interest paid back on loans, meaning many of those who had been planning to go to University, simply won’t now.
Students as of next year could be paying over £100,000 over 30 years for their degrees.
As a Union, SUSU is against the rise in fees, and having sent over 250 students to last year’s National Demo, we have continued to argue against the cuts to Higher Education, and have been working locally to ensure that the University of Southampton provides the best value-for-money degree possible.
SUSU responded to the Paper earlier in the summer, and have also submitted a joint consultation piece with the University of Southampton, in a bid to reduce the negative impact the Higher Education Bill will have on the student experience, which will be going through Parliament around May time next year.
We have not given up the fight – and we never will.
The Government claims that the changes to Higher Education are for austerity measures; in that case, we expect that as the economy improves, that funding is re-invested in Higher Education and that ultimately, the £9000 fee-level is reduced.
But to do this effectively, we need your help.
We want your input on how we can best tackle this ongoing issue, and best try to affect change. Supporting national campaigns, lobbying MPs, and having frank discussions with the opposition parties about what they will propose in the next General Election – these are all possible pathways we can choose – and you can have your say in how we act.
If you’re interested in being part of a working group that discusses what action to take, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org