Who’s Saying what on 9K Fees

A month ago I blogged a request to the vice chancellor to clarify his stance on the rising of the fee for UK students coming to University this year.

The last few years have seen substantial changes to the shape of HE funding, and the debt that individuals will be taking on in the UK just to get a degree.

On Thursday of this week, from 12-1pm in the SUSU concourse we have a whole range of speakers, including representatives SUSU, SSFE, UCU, to talk about where we are now, but before that it’s worth recapping on who’s saying what locally:


What has changed?

It’s obviously been talked about a lot over the past few years, but it’s worth recapping what is actually different about this year.

–  Fees have gone from 3k per year to 9k per year1

–  Alongside the increase in student fees there was an 80% reduction in the teaching grant for Universities

–  Institutions have been given a restriction on the number of non AAB students they can recruit2

–  There are 57,000 fewer students starting Uni this year3 which means almost half a billion pounds  in lost funding for Universities4, with the russell group seeing a reduction of 10,000 students (with no reduction in applications).

–  No mention or provision has been given to Postgraduate funding, or the impact these fee changes will have on it.


The Unions Stance

Over the past 10 years the Union has consistently stood against the increases to tuition fees. Students have marched in national demonstrations, and the Union has put pressure on local MP’s to represent the wishes of a significant proportion of their constituents.

A wide range of policy has been passed in this time, and currently the Union stands against the increasing of the cap, and the significant burden placed on individual students with no regards for the wider social and public benefit of a strong higher education system.


The University Stance:

In response to the changes in funding, and the raising of the cap the University took the decision in 2011 to increase its fees from 3k to 9k.

This was in line with most of the sector. There was a great deal of debate surrounding this, and this year the Senate of the University (the highest academic decision making body) came out with this stance on the recent changes:

  • “The Senate of the University of Southampton reluctantly notes the introduction of higher fees for undergraduate degrees from September 2012.
  • The Senate believes that these higher fees and associated student loans do not reflect a fair and reasonable balance between public and personal investment in higher education which the Senate believes will be detrimental not only to the University’s students but to higher education and society.
  • The Senate expresses solidarity with the University’s students in peaceful and legal campaigning against the changes to student fees.”

Southampton Students for Education pushed the Vice Chancellor on his personal position with regards to these changes, and the following was the response5:

“As Chair of Senate, he actively participated in the preparation of three motions on behalf of the University community that were adopted following debate by Senate at its meeting in June 2012. This meeting of Senate was attended by the student representatives on Senate who participated fully in the debate and all are recorded as voting in favour of their adoption. The Vice-Chancellor voted for the three motions, which are reproduced below.”


Southampton Students for Education’s Stance:

Southampton Students for Education are a student group lobbying group looking to raise awareness of amongst students of the damaging and ideological nature of the Governments HE Policy.

Their stance is:

“Education is not a luxury or a lifestyle choice, but a basic and vital means of personal and social development. As such it should be equally accessible for everyone, regardless of their circumstances. Higher education also has a vital economic role, but its value cannot simply be reduced to financial costs and benefits.

We oppose tuition fees in higher education institutions. We also oppose any fees or hidden costs which might deter or limit equal access to higher education (e.g. compulsory course trips).

We oppose the privatisation of higher education in the UK. Universities must remain publicly funded and higher education must not be commercialised or run along market ideals.

We want to defend the quality and accessibility of teaching at Southampton University. The University governing body must be more vocal in opposing the HE White Paper, and it must take greater steps to protect Southampton students from its damaging effects6.”


What do you think, What can you do?

The above gives you an idea of where the key groups locally are in their stance on these changes. The next part is about you.


Do you think anyone has got it right, or is there another side to this debate?

What do you think the Universities position should be, should the Vice Chancellor be taking a different public stance?

Do you think the Union is up to date with its view?


If you’d like to hear more, or get more actively involved there will be a discussion taking place in SUSU on the concourse this week;

Thursday, Near Reception, 12-1pm





1 – The fee charged by the vast majority of institutions to home/EU students

2 – The core and margin model means that Universities can recruit an unlimited number of AAB students, but had a reduction in student who achieved less than an AAB at A-Level (or equivalent)

3 –

4 – The new regime

5 –

6 –

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