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Leeds the centre of debate on Browne review

October 12, 2010

An email that was sent around a select group of people yesterday in the University  (not even all members of Senate received it)* invited them to request to be in the audience at the Channel 4 News event taking place in the University library this evening.

The student group Leeds University Against the Cuts are staging a protest outside the event

The University and College Union has today warned that Lord Browne’s recommendations for higher education would have a devastating effect, seeing some universities forced to close and the curriculum dangerously narrowed, as the cost of university is effectively transferred from the state to the family.

If enacted England will have the most expensive public degrees in the world, with families having to shell out between £76,000 and 136,000 to put two children through university. (Calculation for a family with a household income of around £50,000 a year and eligible for only a small amount of means tested maintenance grant under Browne proposals).

According to UCU calculations, a three-year degree with annual tuition fees of £6,000 would cost a total of £38,286, including maintenance loans and interest payments. A three-year degree with annual tuition fees of £12,000 would cost a total of £68,329, including maintenance loans and interest payments (see tables below for full calculations).

The report also proposes to create a market in student places which it suggests will facilitate a large reduction in public funding which ‘may be equivalent to removing all funding from anything other than priority subjects’.

The union said that, if implemented, the proposals would be the final nail in the coffin for an affordable university degree for the vast majority of ordinary families. It forecast that as a result of the creation of a market for student places, some universities would close, and only so-called priority courses would survive, making innovative new courses unviable and so weakening the UK’s position as a global knowledge centre.

read the full UCU press release here

download the Browne report here


*Correction: On the original posting, we stated that UCU were not invited. We have since learned that at least one member of the UCU executive was amongst the select few to receive the invitation from the University.

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