Another £200 million to be cut from HE budgets

On Monday (24th May) the Conservative Coalition announced a further £200,000,000 would be cut from HE budgets. Then majority of these “savings” will come directly from a fund instituted to provide extra university places, following last years fiasco in which aspiring students had the door firmly slammed into their youthful faces. Consequently, there will be 10,000 less extra places for students than was expected, despite a backlog from last year and a 16.5% increase in demand for places.

Read the Guardian’s article here.

Don’t think this is the end though: this is just one further move in a complex strategy that will gradually increase pressure and support for raising the cap on tuition fees. The endgame: not only removing tuition fees, but putting everyone involved in such a position of constriction that they actively want the cap to be removed.

    The Endgame

A (pseudo-objective) review is underway (foregone conlusion); the Russell Group have aligned themselves with deregulation (“UK’s best universities claim removing cap is only way”); lecturers are facing savage cuts and the looming threat of redundancy (“I don’t like it, but removing the cap would certainly make my life easier”); NUS have been pro-fees since Wes Streeting came in (and another Streeting-school Blairite, Aaron Porter, has just taken the throne); parents and prospectives will soon be clamouring for more places, whatever the cost; current students will be appeased by gradiated “phasing” and by a complete inability to make themselves heard; and the main anti-fee party, the Lib Dems, has been co-opted. All the pieces are in place: who can resist?

There’s only one solution: to create a united body of students (UGs and PGs and TAs) who are anti-fees and anti-cuts; for them to link up across the UK at every campus; for them to get Lecturers and Lecturers Unions onside; for them to link up internationally with other student struggles in the EU; for them to link up with parents and prospectives; for them to link up with other “crisis” threatened industries. This is the only solution except wishing on the whims of politicians.

Most importantly: we have to link up academia with the public. We need parents to be onside; we need the middle-class families to recognise that it is they who are being attacked, and not just students.

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~ by Wit on May 26, 2010.

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