Students will pay ‘more for a worse product’

While the government urges the public sector to ‘do more for less’, more public voices have been pointing out that the slashing of the teaching grant means that students will be paying more for less.

An editorial in the Observer argues: “The policy is defensible if the overall outcome is better university education for more people. But that goal is savagely undermined by plans to slash teaching grants by up to 80%, with humanities subjects deemed unworthy of any state subsidy. The cuts will hollow out faculties and impoverish institutions before revenue from higher fees arrives. Undergraduates will pay more for a worse product.”

The generational bias of the government’s proposals has been highlighted by Nick Cohen in the Observer who refers to the argument made by Ed Howker and Shiv Malik in Jilted Generation: How Britain has Bankrupted its Youth and by none other than David Willetts in The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future, and How They Can Give it Back.

The Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, who voted against the government on Thursday,  has rounded on the duplicity of university vice-chancellors for being willing to accept a cut in their government funding in return for higher fees, reports the Guardian: “No other public sector body, in this whole shake-up with the cuts, was in a position where they could say: ‘Right, we’ll accept our cut in the direct support we get from the state as long as we get to charge our clients.’ Imagine if we had headteachers or NHS managers saying that – it’s absolutely outrageous.”

Meanwhile, the widely reported anger of grass-roots Liberal Democrats at their party’s leadership is illustrated by this piece by Dr Richard Huzzey of the University of Plymouth at Lib Dem Voice.

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