The Students’ Union is backing a nationwide campaign to combat a Government proposal that, if introduced, would see different tuition fees applied to different courses.
Led by NUS (the National Union of Students), ‘Education on the Edge’ is an initiative to protest the plan, which could mean students paying £6,500 for arts subjects, but a much higher £13,000 for the likes of medicine and dentistry.
Consequently, universities could end up being at risk of collapse, with no indication that the Government would be willing to provide extra financial assistance.
The action has been driven by media reports suggesting that varying fees could be recommended by the Augar Review of post-18 education in the UK, which is due to be completed this year.
Gemma Lovegrove, the Students’ Union’s Vice President: Education, said: “Our primary aim is to urge our students to support the campaign by informing them of the significant impact that these changes could have.
“Funding for the Students’ Union would be affected, so reducing engagement and the quality of the student experience. It would put a massive financial strain on students – those on high-tariff courses may no longer be involved with the Union, as they would need to work extra part-time hours.
“Further, students may feel that their degrees are devalued by being at different prices.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Nick Petford, the University of Northampton’s Vice Chancellor, stated that this would see a cut of 14% to the institution’s finances. He added: “There would be no way we could move forward as a university without significant redundancies.
“Universities would have lots of add-ons. If you were studying arts, you could put extra charges on top for materials or canvas; environmental sciences could charge for equipment or field trips.”
You can find out more information about ‘Education on the Edge’ on NUS’s website.