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UCU response to top-up fees report

26 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today warned against increasing the cost of studying at university. On the day Universities UK (UUK) releases a report assessing the impact of top-up fees on students and universities, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said that she believed the current regime is restricting students' university choices and that many are put off going altogether.

Sally Hunt said: 'I am yet to be convinced that making students pay more to go to university is the best way to encourage them to apply, particularly the students from non-traditional backgrounds that the government says it is committed to encouraging to apply.

'Our own recent research revealed areas of the country where there is literally no provision for key subjects like modern languages and the sciences. The increasing cost of university means many students are being forced to study closer to home. How have we allowed a situation to develop where potential Nobel Prize winners are unable to study in their field of expertise because they cannot afford to, or are unable to, move to the other end of the country?

'The government should be ensuring higher education is properly funded so all students have the possibility to achieve their full potential and that they are taught by properly paid staff in well-resourced institutions. All politicians tell us that education is a priority – some repeated the mantra three times. However, rhetoric can never support our institutions or fund research, we need clear commitments that the UK is not prepared to be left behind, and see that as a key challenge for the new prime minister.'