Whilst disappointing, it comes as no surprise that the University of Plymouth has today announced to charge tuition fees of £9,000 per year for UK and EU undergraduate students starting their studies in 2012/13, subject to agreement by the Office of Fair Access.
Despite the Government’s emphasis on “exceptional circumstances” it seems that the majority of Universities are proposing to charge the maximum amount allowed under the new Government fees structure.
UPSU has led students in a march on the streets of Plymouth and London, speaking out against Government cuts to higher education and lifting the cap on tuition fees. In December 2010, the Government passed legislation that would allow universities to charge fees of up to £9000. Amongst those who voted to pass this legislation was our local MP, Oliver Colvile, this was despite our persistent lobbying, urging him to vote against the legislation.
UPSU is, and remains, totally committed to opposing this and future changes to the fees structure. These changes are such that they could burden our next generation of students with debts for years to come.
However, UPSU understand that these changes in funding have been imposed on our universities and that they have been pushed into this position. It is clear that if Plymouth wants to continue to provide exceptional teaching and learning, maintain its status as one of the best modern universities, invest in research, innovation and enterprise, ensure our students get the best education possible, they have been left with little alternative than to charge the maximum amount.
The University of Plymouth began their talks on what to charge in early 2011, invited Students’ Union President, Seena Shah to represent the student body and have been in full communication over this decision.
Seena Shah, UPSU President, said: “UPSU regret that the university is to charge £9000, but acknowledge that this new fee regime has been imposed on universities through Government cuts.
We support the university’s £9000 fee on the understanding that the university will continue to sustain and significantly invest in enhancing the student experience and will fight to ensure that any additional income is reinvested back in to the student experience. Charging £9000 means that the university have a greater responsibility to act on student feedback so they are more accountable to students. It will be our responsibility to ensure we hold them to account on behalf of our members.
UPSU would like to thank and recognise the many students that have supported this campaign. Even though current students are not affected by the new fees they have fought hard to ensure that all young people have the same opportunity to experience higher education as they have had.
We will continue to fight against these cuts and this new fee regime. The Government are yet to release guidance on part-time, international and postgraduate student fees so we will be leading a campaign to ensure that these all remain accessible. Students, on any level, should not be priced out of education and we must make sure no student is ripped off, but gets exceptional value for their fees, has a high value on their education and will see their employability increase as a result of studying at the University of Plymouth.”
In a message to future students the UPSU President added, “We are hugely disappointed that the cost for higher education has moved, in many cases entirely, to the student. We do not want to see talented people from disadvantages backgrounds miss out on higher education. Please remember that the cost of higher education is not paid up front and that you only pay it back if or when you can afford to. UPSU look forward to working with the university’s widening participation department and we will be helping them to deliver this message: A degree from a great university should always enhance your employability - we aim to ensure Plymouth remains just that, a great university.”
For further information or interviews contact Seena Shah on:
Tel: 01752 588379