Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/274/24520
Student fees: "Top" Universities Plan Top-Up Fees
IMPERIAL COLLEGE, part of London university, is spearheading attempts by the elite universities to charge students top-up fees. Sir Richard Sykes, Imperial College's vice-chancellor put proposals to the universities ruling council last week, which would charge annual fees of £10,500.
According to Sykes, this is in advance of moves by the government to remove restrictions on universities charging extra fees, after the inquiry into higher education is published.
Vice- chancellors like Sykes have their eye on the large sums of money which they hope can be gained by charging fees of £10,000 upwards. They say this extra money will make them part of a global elite of prestigious (and rich) universities competing for the 'top' (wealthiest) students from around the world.
But top-up fees completely price working-class students out of these elite universities. Attending a university charging top-up fees would mean taking on thousands more pounds in debt.
And with many of the poorest universities already in crisis due to lack of government funding, this would increase the gulf in facilities, class sizes and services within higher education.
While a rich minority get a 'world-class' education, the majority will get second or third best.
The vice-chancellors of the elite universities or the 'Russell Group' argue that there is no option except charging top-up fees because the government can't fund them adequately. However, New Labour can find the millions needed to go to war and destroy the lives of thousands of Afghanis and possibly Iraqis.
Students must fight for a massive injection of funding in education to ensure all universities can provide the best level of education to students.
We must also fight for the abolition of all fees and for the restoration of a decent grant students can live on, through a campaign of mass non-payment of fees. Only a system of free education can guarantee all students an education, regardless of their background.
In The Socialist 25 October 2002: