Tuition Fees: FXU Presidents’ Open Letter

Photography: Jack Matthews
Photography: Jack Matthews

Recently, the University of Ex­eter have announced that from 2017/18 the tuition fees of all undergraduate home and EU students will be rising to £9250 per year, subject to govern­mental approval following the Teaching Excellence Frame­work (TEF). It is our understanding that Falmouth University will also raise fees, again, subject to approval. I want to reassure all students affected that since FXU first became aware of this we have not supported any rise in tuition fees.

What is FXU doing?

We want to make it clear that whilst we oppose any fee increases we understand why the Universities have made this decision, and strongly believe that an increase in funding is necessary to maintain and improve your student experience. As your fees will be increased we will work in partnership with the Universities to ensure that this finance is directed towards areas students will benefit from.

Our concerns around restricting access to higher education for students from all backgrounds will inform this partnership with both institutions. Ensuring that higher education remains open to everyone is of the utmost importance to us as a students’ union.  We will proactively encourage the National Union of Students (NUS) to lobby the government to raise the £21,000 threshold to pay back student loans in order to account for inflationary rises, and provide more financial support to students from less advantaged backgrounds.

What is TEF?

The Teaching Excellence Framework, or the TEF, is new government legislation introduced by the Minister for Universities, Jo Johnson MP. In order to be eligible to raise fees, Universities have to meet a series of metrics that measure ‘Teaching Excellence’, including results from the National Student Survey, the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey and agreement from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). If a University is successful in this process, they will be able to raise fees for all students in line with the rate of inflation from September 2017. Since fees have not risen since the £9000 cap was introduced in September 2012, the real value of that fee has fallen to £8200, meaning Universities have to deliver the same or better service with less money. The further debt incurred by students is a result of governmental cuts, and not a result of University negligence. The Universities having more money to invest in the student experience can and should improve your time here. It is for this reason we are dedicated to making sure that this will be a change that benefits students, whilst continuing to oppose the government’s position.

All Exeter students will have received communication from their University explaining this de­cision, so please do check your University inbox to see if you have received this and let us know if you have not.

As always, if you have finance concerns please contact our advice service (advice@fxu.org.uk). Please do come into the office to see us if you would like to find out more, or email tom.murray-richards@fxu.org.uk (Exeter Students)/ chris.slesser@fxu.org.uk (Falmouth Students).

Your Presidents,

Tom Murray-Richards, FXU Exeter President

Chris Slesser, FXU Falmouth President

Alexa Webster, FXU President Community & Welfare

Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, FXU President Student Experience

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