Update: Glasgow University set to raise tuition fees, SRC improperly consulted

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Rhys Harper
News Editor

[Update: The University of St Andrews, when approached for comment, responded that they were also planning to raise their rUK fees in line with Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The SRC has also released a letter condemning the University’s choice to raise fees]

Tuition fees at the University of Glasgow for English, Welsh and Northern Irish students are set to rise from £9,000 per annum to £9,250 per annum beginning in 2017. The fee increase will not affect students who are currently enrolled at the University.

The University says it will cap fees at £9,250 per annum for three years with no charge for the fourth year. In the case of five-year medical, dental and veterinary degrees, the charge will be £9,250 each year for the full five years.

Students’ Representative Council president Ameer Ibrahim criticised the rise, telling The Glasgow Guardian: “It’s something we’re very much against. We’re aware that across the sector, you know, changes are being made and it’s not a positive forecast for the future. But certainly from my perspective it’s something that we will not support and effectively stand against.

“But I think the thing that I’d recognise [is] that it is a wider societal issue as opposed to just exclusive to the University of Glasgow and that also means that we perhaps have to look at engagement with other institutions and think about the wider political context because this change has been approved by the Scottish Government as well as Universities Scotland. That’s an issue and that’s something that we’ll be looking into.”

The University of Edinburgh announced a fee increase on 7 October, a decision condemned by both the NUS and Edinburgh University Students’ Association.

The SRC executive raised Edinburgh University’s fee increase with Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, on 10 October, who said the decision to increase fees to £9250 would be made at the University Court, which met on Wednesday 12 October and decided to increase fees. While Ibrahim does sit in on court, the SRC was not consulted before the was decision made to increase fees.

Court will not meet until after the publication of the 2017/18 prospectus in November, which is likely to feature the new fees.

Ibrahim added: “From an ethical perspective, we do not support the rise. As far as I’m concerned it would create a tier and it puts a number of prospective students at a disadvantage. To some extent it disadvantages those who may not be able to afford the rise in fees. A number of prospective students will be put off coming to the University and I don’t think that reflects the values of an institution which should be about inclusivity and widening participation.”

On how exactly the SRC will oppose the increase, Ibrahim commented: “It’s something that will be discussed at Council. We’ll be thinking, as a collective, what the best way will be to address this issue. Certainly at this point in time we do intend to stand against it. What form that will take is still to be decided.”

Asked whether the increase in fees will lead to a higher block grant for the student bodies, Ibrahim said: “We should be receiving a higher block grant anyway. In the last few years we haven’t seen the block grant rise with inflation. As the University looks to expand student numbers it only makes sense that there should be a positive correlation in regards to the amount we receive. We have a larger pool of students to support throughout the year and that should be correlated with a higher block grant.”

A spokesperson for the University said:  “The decision to set tuition fees for rUK students at £9,250 from 2017 is in line with many of our peer universities across the UK. We have agreed that the level of fees charged will not be increased retrospectively – in other words, it will not be amended or increased during the course of a student’s programme.”