The government is currently introducing the Higher Education & Research Bill. This bill will make several important changes to higher education and has attracted criticism from universities and students alike. Now Student Hut is adding its voice to the opposition to this bill.
There are two particular aspects of the bill that we think need to be scrapped. One is the increase of existing tuition fees. From 2017, high ranking universities can increase their fees with inflation to £9,250 per year. These initial increases will be applicable to home and EU students and shockingly may affect not only new students but current students too, subject to government approval. In subsequent years, there will be additional increases for those starting their studies if the legislation is passed.
Our second objection is to variable fees. Under the new bill, the Teaching Excellence Framework’s second phase will create an elitist two-tier higher education system by imposing fee caps on lower ranked institutions, while allowing others to further increase their fees. Prospective students will have to choose between an unreasonably high level of student debt and universities that are deprived of the financial means to improve.
These changes are coming at a time when there is already widespread dissatisfaction with the UK’s higher education sector. Since tuition fee rises in 2012, grants have been cut, living costs have soared and most universities have done little to offer students more value for their money. There is also a looming threat of reduced numbers of international students following June’s Brexit vote which could have disastrous consequences for university revenues.
Students across the country are already working against this bill. The National Union of Students will be holding a rally in central London on November 19th and we’d encourage anyone who can to attend. You can find out more info on their website by clicking here.
We’re calling on current undergraduates, future students, graduates, parents, academics and anyone concerned about this bill to act. Our petition to stop the government making the changes has already gathered over 12,000 signatures and can be found here. Please sign it, write to your MP with your concerns and – most importantly- tell your friends by sharing this article.