Business leaders call for higher tuition fees

| Sept. 28, 2009 |

BUSINESS LEADERS have suggested that university students should pay more for their loans and accept higher tuition fees.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also said that the Government’s aim of 50 per cent of young people obtaining a university degree should be scrapped. Marketing itself as “the voice of business”, the organisation did call for more in the way of sponsorship and bursaries from businesses.

The National Union of Students (NUS) condemned the report as being ‘hypocritical’. “At a time of economic crisis, when many hard-working families are struggling to support their offspring through university, I am astonished that the CBI should be making such offensive recommendations,” said NUS President Wes Streeting.

The CBI also supported an increase in teaching of more economically “valuable” subjects such as the sciences, engineering, maths and languages.

University of Manchester Vice-Chancellor Alan Gilbert has voiced similar concerns that the current funding system is over-stretched. Gilbert stated on BBC Radio 4 that, “we have had decades of being asked to do more for less.”

He also added that he was dissatisfied with the “quality of undergraduate teaching in the University.”

Kate Little, Academic Affairs Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union (UMSU) added in response to Gilbert: “Clearly, tuition fees have not improved the quality of education on offer. It is time for the government to realise that forcing students into thousands of pounds of debt only serves to widen class divides and perpetuate a cycle of inequality.

“We need a fairer funding system, and a higher education sector that truly delivers a quality education.”