In November the Government launched its plans for the future of higher education (the Green Paper). These included creating a Teaching Excellence Framework, which would allow Universities with ‘excellent’ teaching to raise tuition fees above £9,000. Tuition fees will also be allowed to rise without a vote in Parliament.
A more detailed analysis can be found here.
At Student Council on 1 December students overwhelmingly voted to oppose the Green Paper and campaign against it.
Bristol SU outright rejects any increase in tuition fees beyond £9,000. Student debt already averages around £50,000. For the poorest students this is only going to increase as a result of cuts to maintenance grants. It seems bizarre that a government which says that public debt is a bad thing is loading more debt onto students.
We are also opposed to the idea that students should pay more money for better teaching. Students shelling out £9,000 per year should already expect quality teaching.
A Teaching Excellence Framework seems a good idea in theory. However, the metrics used to determine ‘quality’ teaching don’t work.
One measure that will be used is graduate employment earnings. This implies that because I want to go into a public sector or charity job (where earnings are typically lower) my teaching has been in some way worse. This is misleading.
These measures could end up encouraging universities to recruit students that are more likely to have higher earnings. These graduates tend to be white, male and middle class. Universities could also start closing courses and focusing on courses which churn out high earning graduates.
Finally, these proposals mean that the power to increase tuition fees will be held with an unaccountable government minister. Students can no longer hold their MPs to account.
We will be campaigning against these measures locally and nationally. With student debt rocketing, let's say enough is enough and make a stand.
We will be releasing more information about the campaign soon. Keep your eyes peeled, and help us raise awareness of what’s waiting for students under these changes.