UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

University access agreements to deprive institutions of funds

9 February 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Ahead of tomorrow's expected announcement of how university access agreements will work, UCU has warned that every single English institution with undergraduates will have to charge more than £6,000 fees just to plug the funding gap created by huge cuts to teaching budgets.

The average fee will need to be £6,863.
 
When pushing hard to persuade Liberal Democrat MPs to break their pre-election pledge to vote against any rise in fees, coalition ministers made much of the fact that any institution wishing to charge more than £6,000 a year would need to agree an 'access agreement' with the university access regulator OFFA. The government said that any institution that breaches or fails to deliver its access agreement would face a fine of up to £500,000.
 
However, analysis by UCU highlights how the entire landscape of higher education will change under the new system. Shifting the burden of paying for a university education from the state to the student will not generate the extra funds universities say they need, nor will it provide an enhanced experience for the individual student.
 
The union said that if the access agreements are vigorously enforced then some universities will end up with less money than they have now or face fines if they charge higher fees in an attempt to break even. If, however, they are not enforced then there will be accusations that the agreements were merely a sop to Liberal Democrat MPs looking for an excuse to break their pre-election promise not to vote for higher fees.
 
Earlier this week a leaked document from Cambridge University confirmed that it would charge the maximum £9,000 a year. The sector is now waiting to see what other institutions will charge and which universities will be the first to show their hand.
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Government claims that universities will only charge more than £6,000 a year in exceptional circumstances are completely bogus when one scratches at the surface of the plans. By slashing the teaching grant and making students foot the bill we will see whole subject areas starved of public funds and possibly forced to close.
 
'We are not alone in expressing concerns that some universities will charge the full fee simply because they won't want their courses to be seen as inferior because they cost less. We are entering unchartered territory for universities, students and families and are now starting to see just what a terrible move tripling fees and creating a market in degrees was. It will be interesting to see if the access agreements have any teeth or were merely a sop to Liberal Democrat MPs desperately looking for an excuse to cling to as they broke their pre-election promise to vote against any increase in fees.'

The full report is available below.

Estimate of fees institutions would need to charge students to break even ranked highest to lowest

Institution

Fee required to maintain current levels of resource £

Guildhall School of Music & Drama

7,709

Newman University College

7,695

Thames Valley University

7,598

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

7,567

St George's Hospital Medical School

7,544

Central School of Speech and Drama

7,527

Royal Academy of Music

7,527

Royal College of Music

7,527

University of the Arts London

7,409

Rose Bruford College

7,401

University of East London

7,395

London Metropolitan University

7,392

Conservatoire for Dance and Drama

7,379

Ravensbourne

7,373

University of Salford

7,348

University for the Creative Arts

7,295

Roehampton University

7,291

Imperial College London

7,291

Leeds College of Music

7,274

Institute of Education

7,254

Norwich University College of the Arts

7,239

Harper Adams University College

7,233

University of Bolton

7,172

University of Westminster

7,171

University of Cumbria

7,159

The Arts University College at Bournemouth

7,147

University College Plymouth St Mark & St John

7,136

Royal Northern College of Music

7,116

University of Sunderland

7,116

Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln

7,111

University of Worcester

7,102

University of Wolverhampton

7,084

University College London

7,077

University College Falmouth

7,055

Southampton Solent University

7,043

Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

7,019

City University, London

7,018

University of Chichester

6,990

University of Huddersfield

6,970

Edge Hill University

6,948

University of Brighton

6,931

University of Greenwich

6,926

Goldsmiths College, University of London

6,918

University College Birmingham

6,883

Middlesex University

6,881

London South Bank University

6,866

Royal Holloway, University of London

6,863

Leeds Metropolitan University

6,858

Bath Spa University

6,854

Queen Mary, University of London

6,849

Writtle College

6,847

Buckinghamshire New University

6,845

University of Gloucestershire

6,842

Staffordshire University

6,829

Kingston University

6,825

Brunel University

6,822

Sheffield Hallam University

6,818

University of Leeds

6,815

Liverpool John Moores University

6,802

University of Bedfordshire

6,793

Loughborough University

6,792

King's College London

6,791

University of Derby

6,780

University Campus Suffolk

6,767

University of Northampton

6,767

University of Bath

6,765

University of Bradford

6,754

Liverpool Hope University

6,750

St Mary's University College

6,748

Teesside University

6,746

De Montfort University

6,737

University of Lincoln

6,722

Oxford Brookes University

6,721

Aston University

6,718

Nottingham Trent University

6,714

University of Chester

6,713

Anglia Ruskin University

6,705

Royal Agricultural College

6,703

Coventry University

6,698

University of Surrey

6,691

York St John University

6,675

Leeds Trinity University College

6,655

University of Portsmouth

6,645

University of Southampton

6,644

Bournemouth University

6,641

Birmingham City University

6,617

University of West of England, Bristol

6,609

University of Plymouth

6,595

University of Hull

6,589

University of Bristol

6,581

Canterbury Christ Church University

6,580

University of Hertfordshire

6,571

London School of Economics and Political Science

6,563

University of Reading

6,561

School of Oriental and African Studies

6,554

Heythrop College

6,547

Manchester Metropolitan University

6,533

University of Exeter

6,530

University of Sussex

6,513

University of Winchester

6,506

University of Liverpool

6,503

University of Essex

6,502

University of Nottingham

6,500

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

6,486

University of Kent

6,478

Durham University

6,475

University of Sheffield

6,468

Keele University

6,465

University of Birmingham

6,465

University of East Anglia

6,440

University of Manchester

6,411

University of Cambridge

6,407

University of Oxford

6,372

University of Warwick

6,365

University of York

6,360

Lancaster University

6,345

University of Leicester

6,323

Courtauld Institute of Art

6,251

Average

6,863

The figure for the resource needed per HEFCE Price Group C (subjects with a studio, laboratory or fieldwork element) and D (classroom-based) student to break even is based on the total HEFCE Notional grant per FTE student in these Price Groups, plus the current flat rate and maximum top-up tuition fee (£3,290 in 2010-11), divided by the total number of Price Group C and D students at the particular institution. It should be noted that some Price Group C subjects, such as mathematics, are likely to be protected.

Notes to table

HEFCE = Higher Education Funding Council for England
Price Group C = Subjects with a studio, laboratory or fieldwork element
Price Group D = classroom-based subjects
FD = Foundation Degree
UG = undergraduate
Standard resource = HEFCE funding per full-time equivalent student where price group C = £5,136 and price group D = £3,951 in 2010-11
Notional grant = HEFCE funding minus £1,310 flat rate tuition fee
£3,290 tuition fee = flat rate + top-up in 2010-11
Source: www.hefce.ac.uk

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