Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update: English tuition hikes

Students surrounded a Rolls Royce carrying Prince Charles and Camilla tonight, and attacked it in protest against the tuition hikes.  Here's a story about it.

More on tuition increases in England

It's been a busy autumn in England for the higher education sector.  Lord Browne finally released his review committee's recommendations for reforming the student fee system (the full report can be found on the Browne Review website).  The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government quickly follow-up with its plan, which adopted many of the Browne recommendations but added some of its own, including a proposal to cut funding to universities (the rough analog of state appropriations in the U.S.) by roughly 40% over the next four years.  The £3 billion pound cut is part of a larger, £83 billion cut in all government spending designed to help restore the British budget deficit to a more reasonable position.

Today, the Parliament passed a key component of the Government's plan: an increase in the fee cap from the current level of £3,290 to as much as £9,000, or about $14,000, in the fall of 2012. This is designed to offset the government funding cuts by shifting the burden of financing to students.  From the release of the Browne Review committee, through to the Government's proposal, and on to Parliament's vote today, students have been protesting the funding cuts and fee increases.  The picture above shows a protest organized by the National Union of Students in response to today's vote (see my blog post on fee protests that occurred while I was on sabbatical in London).

Once I get out from under the end-of-semester crush, I'll be writing more about how student financing is  changing in England, and the implications these changes are likely to have on students and universities there.