87% of students kept in the dark about tuition fee hikes
Not enough is being done to inform students about proposed tuition fee hikes, as 87% of you tell us you know next to nothing about why your fees are going up.
We just surveyed 2,038 UK students to see how much they knew about the fee hikes proposed for both new and current students from 2017/18 onwards.
We were shocked to find that a whopping 80% of those who took part in our survey were completely uninformed about the controversial new system that’s being introduced by the government in order to justify raising tuition fees – the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
Whilst the TEF is getting a lot of attention from the government, the media and those working in Higher Education, it seems that the only people being kept in the dark are those who will be affected by it most: Students!
What you told us
In a nutshell, our survey results revealed the following:
- 80% of you didn’t know what the Teaching Excellence Framework was
- 80% of you had never even heard of TEF before
- 87% had no idea the TEF was being used to justify tuition fee hikes
- 76% said they were willing to take action against the TEF.
What's particularly shocking about these figures is that the TEF isn't something that will only affect future students.
If the Higher Education and Research Bill (which the TEF is part of) passes through parliament in its current form without any amendments being made, tuition fees are set to rise from as early as next academic year (2017/18), and current students will be affected too.
Why are students in the dark about TEF?
Credit: Darkday – Flickr
But why is it that students seem to be so uninformed about something that is likely to massively affect them?
The first difficult question ask is whose responsibility it is to inform students in the first place – the government (who are implementing the changes) or universities (some of which who are already advertising higher fees on their websites)?
The excuse currently being dished out by universities for not fully informing every student about the changes on the horizon is that nothing is set in stone, and as the Higher Education Bill is still making its way through the House of Lords, the government can make the same excuse.
However, when universities across the country as well as government sites and even UCAS are advertising higher fees online – it’s clearly time that efforts were made to inform students of what's happening before the changes are made official.
The irony is that waiting until something like this is set in stone is also to wait until nothing can be done to stop it – which, unfortunately, we fear is precisely the intention.
What can be done?
Credit: Garry Knight – Flickr
76% of those who took part in our survey told us they’d be keen to take action against the TEF after learning what it could mean for the future of universities.
We strongly encourage any students who oppose these changes on the horizon to take action as soon as possible!
Contact your university union to find out about any campaigns they’re running, and consider participating in the NUS' national boycott of the NSS, which is due to open in 2017.
Another great idea would be to write to your vice chancellor and voice your concerns. We’ve even put together a letter template for you to make things as easy as possible – simply fill in the gaps, add any additional comments and make yourself heard.