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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 March 2007

Universities fail to accept state school pupils

THE FALL in applications to universities at the start of this year was mainly felt by Britain's least financially well-off people. Proportionately, the decline was largest in the sections of society who are already under-represented at university.

Luke Sinnick Bristol University Socialist Students

The Bristol university newspaper, the Epigram, reported on a recent Channel 4 News investigation showing that out of the 16 elite 'Russell Group' universities, 13 failed to reach their own targets for accepting more applicants from state schools.

Bristol university was the worst; the proportion of students from state schools fell by almost 5% in 2005/06. Far from progressing towards their benchmark of 76%, the academic register shows that this has fallen by another 2% this year!

If these statistics are not damning enough, another article in the same issue detailed a recent report showing that the average salary of vice-chancellors at UK universities rose by 7.9% last year.

43 vice-chancellors now earn more than the prime minister! Among the 'Russell Group' this was even worse with an average pay increase of 8.2% to 217,927. At Bristol, our vice-chancellor awarded himself a 15% pay rise and now earns 226,000 a year!

In contrast, the BBC reported that the median graduate starting salary is predicted to increase by just 2.1% to 23,431, which is below inflation and the smallest predicted salary increase for six years. Coupled with the insulting increase in the minimum wage and the below-inflation public sector pay rise, it is easy to see who the government wishes to benefit.

This shows how out-of-touch these vice-chancellors are. Their wage is far removed from the annual household income of less than 38,000 that entitles you to some level of maintenance grant - only 1,500 for families earning less than 25,000.

This doesn't even cover accommodation costs and forces thousands of students into a huge amount of debt. Debt forces many students to work part-time on top of studying, which affects their academic performance and causes an ever-increasing number of students to drop out.

Universities need to be returned to full public control to ensure that access to higher education is available to all and not just a privileged minority.

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In The Socialist 29 March 2007:

Council workers fight pay cut scandal

The 'Single Status' scandal

Council unions reject 2% pay offer

Fighting cuts and privatisation

Stop council's sell-off plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

PUSH for mass demo


What we think

A simple conclusion from a 'simplification' budget


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tenants defeat housing sell-off

Universities fail to accept state school pupils

Suffolk: Save our schools

London Olympics: Big business bonanza - and we pay

Fast News


Socialist Party election campaign

For the millions, not the millionaires


Socialist Party feature

Hands off our postal service!

Edinburgh postal workers fight back

Workers' fightback to defend postal services


Northern Ireland agreement

Will the new agreement last?

We Won't Pay anti-water charges demo 31 March


International socialist news and analysis

Italy: What future for Prc?

Turkish state attacks Kurdish protestors


Socialist Party workplace news

Airbus walkout - joint action needed across Europe

Reject regional pay

Determined campaigners win reprieve

Manchester Unity Stewards and activists group

Hants library workers fight cuts

Sacked electricians win tribunal ruling

Ealing workers fight pay cuts


 

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