Strike action in higher education

UCU says radical alternatives needed in review of education funding

1 May 2019 | last updated: 3 May 2019

The government needs to do more than tinker with the current system if it wants to make serious changes to education funding. In response to a report from the Education Policy Institute, looking at leaks from the Augar Review, UCU said radical alternatives had been lacking in proposals so far trialled in the media.

UCU acting general secretary Paul Cottrell said: 'The prime minister called the Augar Review because the current system was so politically toxic. However, we have heard little in the leaks that suggests the review is looking at the sort of radical alternatives that would make life easier for students and guarantee funding for our colleges and universities.

'We welcome the EPI report's focus on making studying easier for part-time and mature students. We are pleased the report rejects some of the proposals that have been trialled in the press such as a minimum grades requirement to access financial support and variable fees linked to future earnings.

'We do not agree that the cost of abolishing fees means that the government should reject the idea. Education is worth investing in and we need to develop a system that ensures big business finally pay its fair share.

'A new Business Education Tax, which reverses cuts to corporation tax since 2010, would allow fees to be scrapped while ensuring that big companies finally contribute properly towards the supply of graduates upon which they rely.'

The union's submission to the Augar Review can be found here.

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