Last friday the University of Kent announced that, like most Universities to date, it would be charging the maximum of £9,000 for tuition fees in 2012/13.
The increase to tuition fees spells out a harrowing future for the next generation of students, who will have to make a choice between forfeiting a University education, or taking on upwards of £30,000 of debt.
Whilst we are against tuition fees, we understand the need for Universities to charge more money in order to make up for the lack of government funding. Our issue is with the cuts. We want to make clear that the tuition fee increase must be seen in the wider context of austerity measures – not just of higher education. The repercussions of these drastic and ideological cuts will be felt by every section of society, hurting the poorest and most vulnerable the most.
It is important to note that the maximum threshold has been justified at UKC as being for bursaries and widening participation. This institution will need to charge around £8,000 in order to break even at this point. The case put by senior management is that further fees are part of providing the necessary support for students from low income backgrounds. Consequently we believe that transparency from the university is essential.
We wish to see our senior management alongside us in the campaign against cuts. We have seen in the NHS how senior opposition can result in a backing down over measures.
We believe that the cuts and subsequent fee increase are fundamentally unjust. This crisis is the result of a financial meltdown and subsequent bailouts and recession. The public should not be expected to pay for a crisis caused by the financial sector which continues to reward itself with multi-million pound bonuses from public money. It is important that we all understand that through a progressive corporation tax and better systems in place for combatting tax avoidance there is an alternative to these savage cuts.