There’s an astonishing story on the front page of today’s Sunday Times: university vice-chancellors are lobbying for tuition fees to be increased to £24,000 a year. This is after two years in which universities across the U.K. transformed themselves into Chinese-style internment camps in which everyone had to be vaccinated, students were confined to their rooms, there was no face-to-face contact with academic staff and they were forced to endure endless Zoom calls in which they were lectured about ’white privilege’ and ‘unconscious bias’ and bombarded with woke propaganda. Oh, and when students were let out of their rooms they had to wear masks to symbolise their obeisance to the university authorities. Anyone breaching the rules was expelled, with many universities refusing to reimburse students for any rent or fees paid up front.
Now, the people responsible for turning our universities into these hell-holes want to almost triple the annual tuition fees. Are they trolling us? The Sunday Times has more.
University bosses are calling for tuition fees to be raised closer to the £24,000 a year average that foreign students pay.
They warn the £9,250 paid by U.K. students, which has been frozen for a decade, is forcing them to take on an ever-increasing number of foreign applicants from countries such as China and India.
A record one in five young undergraduates starting at top universities this autumn are from overseas, according to official figures, up 7% in a year. The number of British undergraduates has declined by 13%.
School pupils received their A-level results last week, triggering a battle for higher education places and vice-chancellors have been urged to take on more domestic applicants to ease the pressure.
However, Sir David Bell, Cice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland and a former permanent secretary at the Department for Education, said: “You cannot expect to run universities on a fee level of £9,250 a year, which by 2025 will be worth around £6,000 in real terms because of inflation.
“If you want to keep running universities even at the level we have now, you have to increase the tuition fee at some point.”
He said universities were simply making “a rational choice” in supplementing their finances with income from overseas students.
Bell said he would like to be able to recruit foreign students “as a matter of choice, not simply because there is a financial imperative to do it”, adding: “Universities cannot afford not to take more overseas students.”
Professor Colin Riordan, Cice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said the government had a “national duty to ensure that it was at least viable for us to teach students from this country”.
Professor Sir Chris Husbands, vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: “There are high-tariff universities [which ask for very high A-level grades] pulling back from the UK market because they can charge higher prices in international markets. There is an urgent need to look at UK student funding.”
Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucester, said he and other vice-chancellors in England wanted to get into talks with government for a “long-term viable funding model for universities”. Until then, he said, “we are likely to see increasing recruitment of overseas students”.
The most selective institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol, turned away four out of 10 U.K. candidates who applied to start a degree course this autumn, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This is the highest rejection rate ever recorded.
Overseas students are being enrolled at a higher rate than British ones at the most elite universities, according to a new analysis of admissions data by the consultancy DataHE.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The Telegraph has interviewed some students who want a refund, given that their university education has been disrupted by over-the-top Covid restrictions and striking lecturers.