NUS today responded to the Government’s announcement of the long-awaited review of university funding, warning that a rise in tuition fees must be avoided to prevent the emergence of a market in higher education.
Yesterday, a YouGov poll commissioned by pressure group Compass revealed that only 12% of the public think the review should even consider increasing fees, while a majority believes that it should look at alternatives to fees.
NUS President Wes Streeting said:
“There is a real danger that this review will pave the way for higher fees and a market in prices that would see poorer students priced out of more prestigious universities and other students and universities consigned to the 'bargain basement'. This would be a disaster for UK higher education and must not be allowed to happen.
“Members of the review should be in no doubt about the scale of public opposition to a hike in fees and the level of student anger about the extent of our indebtedness and the marketisation of our education. Review members have a golden opportunity to propose a fairer alternative for funding Britain's universities, like the progressive graduate contribution advocated by NUS.
“Politicians should remember the student backlash in 2004 that almost brought Blair's government down and saw many pro-fees MP's lose their seats subsequently. There will be an even greater backlash if the review proposes plunging students into greater debt.”
Responding to the news that a student, Rajay Naik, will take a place on the core review panel, Wes Streeting added:
“NUS is pleased that the Government has listened to our calls for a student voice to be included on this panel. It is vitally important that this member is not sidetracked by business and university interests.”