Categorized | Education

JUST SAY NO TO UNIVERSITY FEES

NOVANEWS

 

Students across the city have been leading energetic protests against plans to raise university fees and to cut provision and support. We are writing to add our voices to these protests.

 

The Coalition Government has expressed its agreement with the recommendations of the Browne Review of university funding, with the minor amendment that universities will be able to charge no more than £9000 per year for undergraduate courses. This represents a three-fold increase in fees. Recent studies have confirmed the view of many in the sector, that this level of cost will dissuade many able low-income students from attending university at all.

 

At the same time, the government plans to slash funding to colleges and to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Without access to a local further education college and the support for travel and basic costs of the EMA, further study becomes impossible for many.

 

The review of university funding not only passes the costs of degrees onto students, the proposals also seek to end state support for the majority of courses. Whereas previously HEFCE (the university funding body) would allocate places to courses and institutions, ensuring a fair spread of university places across regions, now universities and cities are encouraged to compete against each other.

 

For Birmingham, this is disastrous. We know that the city and region face challenges in skills – without access to further study, these issues cannot be addressed. Government acknowledges that courses and entire universities will go out of business. The loss of any of the city’s important universities – or even the loss of significant numbers of courses from our local universities – will damage our ability to rebuild the skills base of the city and to meet the aspirations of local people. Importantly, the decline of our universities and colleges will also lead to a loss of revenue and jobs to the city. Further and higher Education is important employers in Birmingham and student communities bring a large amount of business to the city.

  

Birmingham has devoted considerable energy to attracting students to the city in recent years. Funding proposals that threaten universities, colleges and courses in this city will destroy this work and damage Birmingham’s ability to meet the economic and social challenges ahead.

 

We call on the leaders of Birmingham City Council and the city’s MPs to lobby government to defend the educational infrastructure of the city and to meet with us, ordinary staff from across the city’s universities and colleges, to defend

Educational provision for Birmingham, both now and in the future.

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December 2010
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