In October, Imperial College Union voted to suspend its policy on fees, seeking to engage with the student body and find out their opinions. Many students have expressed their relief and receiving larger grants, making financial management much easier while they are at university. However, those same students will carry a large amount of debt with them for many years into the future. The HE funding survey seeks to gauge student opinion on how higher education should be funded.
When Richard Sykes became the first University head to seek permission for top-up fees, Imperial was thrust into the national media spotlight. Imperial students protested on campus and marched through London with other students from around the country. Since then top-up fees have been introduced, however the market in Higher Education has failed to appear, meaning most universities charge full fees of £3,000. The feared drop in student numbers has also not materialised.
The survey itself asks for opinions on a number of issues, rather than proposing funding models to be voted on. Over the coming weeks Live! will present opinions from both inside and outside Imperial on the subject of Higher Education funding, with Felix presenting a set of opinions in today's issue. Questions to be resolved include:
- Do we agree with the government's 50% (or 40% - whatever it is this week) target for the number of people entering Higher Education
- Should all universities be funded equally?
- How should economic benefits be reflected in the pricing of higher education?
- Do we believe in free education for all?
The results from the survey will form a paper to Union Council, to set ICU's fees policy when attempts to lift the cap begin next year. It will also be the basis of an amendment to NUS Conference, should our opinion differ to that of the national union.