Login

  • SU Directory
  • Trading
  • NUS Extra

News

Bursaries and fee waivers: the facts

Rated 5/5 (1 person). Log in to rate.

The issue:

Fee waivers do not actually give the student anything at all unless a student goes on to be successful in a well-paid job, by which time they will not need a retrospective discount on their higher education degree. Students need money when they are studying, they don’t need a ‘discount’ that they will likely never see the benefit of.

The £7,500 threshold to get into the auction for the 20,000 margin places, created by taking 8% off institutions (excluding AAB students) has meant that institutions have sacrificed access spend on bursaries so they can offer partial fee waivers. Owing to the repayment mechanism of loans (9% over £21,000 for 30 years), only high earners will ever earn enough to realise that fee waiver - by government’s own figures, 40% will never repay enough for a small fee waiver to become a reality. The government has created a system to force institutions to lower their fees (because they can’t afford not to) by conning students into thinking they’re getting
money off fees, when in reality they're not – and they lose out on the upfront cash in hand support that bursaries would provide.


The impact we want:
The way that government proposes to give financial support to the most disadvantaged people is a mess. Fee waivers are a con as they yield virtually no benefit whatsoever to the majority of students. We want fee waivers to be banned as a feature of the Access Agreement.

Widening participation is meaningless unless the support is available to make higher education affordable at the point of study, and we want students to benefit from the right support, reducing drop-outs.


The outcome we want:
We need MPs to put as much scrutiny as possible on David Willetts, to force him to come clean that he’s conning students, and ultimately to take fee waivers out of the calculation of 'average fee level' when calculating the £7,500 threshold for the auction.
We want fee waivers to be banned unless they represent at least 50% of the entire fee (the only point at which they start to possibly benefit students in the future), and even then we want assurances that real cash-in-hand support will be available to all students that need it, to a level capable of sustaining them.


Our targets:

  • Vice-Chancellors who share our views about the pounds in students’ pockets can be strong public allies if they are willing to speak out about this.
  • Both the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Office for Fair Access have taken no view on the suitability or otherwise of fee waivers. Presenting these with evidence may encourage them to take a line on bursaries over fee waivers.
  • MPs can ask BIS and its Ministers to report on the effectiveness or otherwise of fee waivers or bursaries. Too often the justification for fee waivers is that bursaries have shown no impact on recruitment. We need to make it clear that our point is about retention. MPs will care about the welfare of their constituents and support us in making this case to government.

Our campaign actions:

  • What is your VC/ Principal’s view on bursaries and fee waivers? If they haven’t already taken a public view, persuade them to do so. If they take the same position as you, stand on a joint platform – make a joint statement and promote it – and make sure your MP knows about it.
  • Give your MP some key facts about how this policy is impacting on your institution, e.g. how much the institution has reduced its bursary budget by, and gather feedback from current students receiving bursaries about whether they think they would be more likely to drop out had they only been granted a fee waiver rather than a bursary. You can then ask your MP to take action by:
  •            Writing to the Minister, David Willetts
  •            asking parliamentray questions on the issue, for example:

“Does the Minister believe it is fair that [your institution] was forced to reduce the amount of bursaries offered to new students by £[XX]m and instead now offer £[XX]m of partial fee waivers, when he knows that these fee waivers mean nothing unless the graduate becomes a high earner, whereas bursaries offer cash to those most in need?”

Comments

Please login to comment.

No comments have been made.
 
Some features of this site - including article viewing - require javascript enabled.
You must be logged in to view this article - Login now

Share

Latest in campaigns

Myfyrwyr yn galw am estyniad o'r hen gofrestr etholiadol a phleidleisiau yn 16

Mae UCM Cymru wedi mynegi pryderon ynglyn â sut mae'r system bleidleisio bresennol yn annog myfyrwyr a phobl ifanc i fynd ati i bleidleisio fis Mai nesaf, ac eto yn etholiadau Cymru yn 2016.

 
Students call for extension of old electoral register and votes at 16

NUS Wales has expressed concerns with how the current voting system encourages students and young people to cast their ballots this May, and again in Wales’ 2016 elections.

 
'Draen dawn' o fyfyrwyr i Loegr os na fydd addewid tebyg i ôl-raddedigion

Gallai Cymru wynebu dylifiad dawn o fyfyrwyr i Loegr os nad yw Cymru'n ymrwymo i addewid tebyg am gyllid a gyhoeddwyd yn natganiad yr hydref yr wythnos ddiwethaf. Dyna rybudd Undeb Cenedlaethol y Myfyrwyr Cymru.

 
Wales could face ‘brain drain’ of students if PG pledge not matched

Wales could face a brain drain of students to England if Wales does not commit to a similar funding pledge announced in the autumn statement last week, NUS Wales has warned.

 
Help shape fairer funding and win £100!

NUS Scotland has launched a major survey of the student support system in Scotland, to help us fight for a fairer system for students.

 
Student Leader outlines catastrophic impact a DEL funding cut could have

Following today’s publication of the Department for Employment and Learning’s draft budget and spending plan, NUS-USI President Rebecca Hall has underlined her strong opposition to the proposed 10.8% cut to DEL funding within the Executive’s draft budget, saying it could have catastrophic consequences for students and the economy. She said that government must invest in students, and there must be no increase in tuition fees and no reduction in the number of student places here.

 
 

Latest news

Students’ Unions Local – Coming to a town near you!

We are delighted to inform you of our upcoming Students’ Union Local events. These specially designed one-day events have been created to meet the needs of officers and staff in students’ unions.

 
NUS Black Students' Officer Malia Bouattia wins #EightWomen award

Malia Bouattia has been voted a winner of Media Diversified’s #EightWomen awards.

 
Charity fundraising partner Student Adventures goes into administration

It has come to our attention that recently that a charity fundraising partner used by many Students’ Unions, Student Adventures, has gone into liquidation and is ceasing to trade.

 
Proposed GCSE reforms could be detrimental to many students

NUS vice president Joe Vinson explains why the Government's planned reforms to GCSE’s (the most significant set of reforms in the history of these qualifications) could be detrimental to students, and offers advice to GCSE students on their next steps.

 
University students warned to stay vigilant amidst suspected mobile phone fraud

The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) has launched an investigation into a suspected mobile phone fraud targeting students at universities across the UK.

 
NUS criticises ‘Know Your Limits’ rape poster campaign

NUS has expressed huge concern today at the ‘Know Your Limits’ recent poster campaign to tackle rape. The poster points out that in a third of reported rapes the victim had been drinking and warns people to monitor their alcohol consumption. It is available for download on the Home Office website and has been sighted in NHS premises.

 
 

Most Read

Trending/Most Shared articles

 

Recent Comments