Fees increase will put university 'out of reach for majority', warns UCU
UCU today warned that lifting the cap on tuition fees would be 'the most regressive piece of education policy since the war'.
Responding to calls from the Russell Group of universities for the cap on fees to be lifted the union said that allowing institutions to set their own fees risked pricing a generation out of higher education.
UCU, who will give oral evidence to the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance this Thursday, says its plans for a Business Education Tax (BET) are the first coherent attempts at making business rather than students pay for the numerous benefits it gets from UK higher education and would allow the UK to abolish tuition fees altogether.*
UCU warned that inequality of access to higher education is already threatening the country's success. Research shows that just 13% of fifteen year olds in receipt of free school meals go to university compared to the average of 33%. Educational under-achievement is estimated to cost £18bn a year according to the Princes Trust.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Raising tuition fees would be the most regressive piece of education policy since the second world war and put university out of reach for the majority. We desperately need to move away from the idea that the current review of student funding is merely a question of how much student fees go up by.
'It is time for business rather than students and their families to make a fair contribution. Our proposals to increase corporation tax to fund our universities would still leave it at a lower rate than when the Conservative Party was last in power.'
* In place of fees: time for a Business Education Tax? UCU/Compass, Mar 10 [126kb] (opens in a new window)