Student News

Call for government intervention over ‘outrageous’ VC salaries and luxury expenses

Findings of a new report have been described as an ‘embarrassment’ to universities, and suggests tuition fees are being spent irresponsibly.
make money studentsA spending report released by the University and College Union (UCU) has revealed the average salary of UK Vice-Chancellors has now reached £277,000 a year – whilst teaching staff continue to struggle on temporary or zero-hour contracts and meagre 1% salary increases.

The report also revealed details on how VCs were spending ludicrous amounts of uni cash on £500-a-night hotels and first class travel.

Sally Hunt, Head of UCU has called the spending “outrageous” and has asked the government to intervene by enforcing "proper scrutiny of their pay and perks”.

She said:

Those at the very top in our universities need to rein in the largess that embarrass the sector.

Unless the government finally steps in we believe many vice-chancellors will continue to spend public money and students’ fees with impunity.

Thirteen universities also refused to disclose details on how they were spending their cash, despite a freedom of information request. Wonder what they have to hide, eh!

Uni lecturers recently admitted their pay and contracts are so bad, they care less and less about providing good-value teaching.

Where's my money going?

unimpressedAt a time when fee increases are on the cards again, the last thing students want to hear is that fees are being spent frivolously.

We're sorry to be the bearers of infuriating news, but it's important you know this stuff!

In the same year (2015/16) that university staff took part in a two-day strike after being told their salaries were only going up by less than inflation, senior staff benefited from major perks.

In a nutshell:

  • The average VC salary is now 6.5 times more than teaching staff
  • 24 UK unis increased VC salaries by 10%
  • VC of Brighton University, Professor Debra Humphries, got a 31% raise
  • Dame Glynis Breakwell from the University of Bath received a salary of £451,000, making her the highest earning VC in the UK. A few months ago, she cause a stir when it was revealed she claimed up to £20,000 a year in expenses – including everything down to a £2 packet of biscuits!
  • Southampton Uni spent a total of £700,000 on VCs last year due to an job overlap
  • Warwick uni spent £46,348 on flights over one academic year (99% of which were first class or business class)
  • VCs at 22 unis flew first class every time they travelled, even for short flights in the UK
  • Sir Keith Burnett from Sheffield Uni spent £24,433 of university cash on hotels in one year
  • Professor John Vinney of Bournemouth uni took a 20% rise (taking his salary to £305,000) the same year his staff were told they could only get a 1% rise

And we suspect this probably isn't the worst of it, either. As we mentioned, the UCU reported that some universities refused to disclose details on their spending.

They've chosen to name and shame those refusing to be transparent about spending, in the hope that this will convince them to cough up figures.

Is your uni on the list?

Scared manUniversity of Bolton
University of Coventry
University of Cranfield
Edge Hill University
University of Roehampton
Rose Bruford College
University of Southampton
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Anglia Ruskin
Birmingham City University
University of Hull
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
University of St Andrews

Make sure you're totally clued up on what your degree will cost you, and careful not to believe these common myths about tuition fees!

[Edit: This article has been amended to remove the mention of the University of Plymouth, who were incorrectly included in the list due to an error in UCU's report].

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