Students at the University of Exeter
Response to tuition fees vote
Following the passing of the Commons vote on tuition fees on Thursday 9 December, Exeter Vice-Chancellor and Universities UK President Professor Steve Smith said it was now important for government to clarify final details of the proposed system as soon as possible.
Professor Smith, said: “The passing of this vote marks a turning point in the funding of universities in England. No one takes any pleasure in asking graduates to take on more debt. But the cuts to the higher education budget are a reality and we must make sure that our universities are properly funded to deliver the high standards that students rightly demand, without cutting back on places.”
From the outset, Universities UK opposed the budget cuts but recognised that the government proposals are the best option in the current circumstances. It was agreed that a vote in favour was crucial to provide financial stability for UK universities and to ensure that universities can plan their future. However, the UUK support for the proposals is only conditional upon a long-term commitment to public investment in higher education.
Professor Smith explained, “The government must now clarify some of the final details. Students, their families, and our universities, have to know the full details of the proposed system as soon as possible. Universities need to be able to publicise their courses for 2012.
“Everyone involved in higher education, from universities to schools, must ensure that the public understands fully the proposed system. It's vitally important that prospective students are not put off from attending university because of a lack of information about the costs and benefits of a university education.
“The system proposed has no upfront payments by students and a significantly improved package of support for part-time students and for students from poorer backgrounds.
He added, “This is a period of great change. For many institutions the next few years will be very challenging. Universities UK will be taking a leading role in monitoring the impact of these reforms. Universities are flexible and efficient and will adapt to this new system, ensuring that we continue to deliver a world-class higher education experience.”
The University of Exeter will not be taking any decisions about what to charge until the Spring of next year.
Date: 10 December 2010