BPP’s state subsidy

October 2, 2014

I have no problem with competition from for‑profit providers such as BPP University (“John Denham: £9K fee system ‘wastes money’ ”, News, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk). However, I’ve yet to see full and frank disclosure of its business model. Unless BPP law students rely entirely on primary legal sources (case, statutes and the like) and/or material produced by BPP alone without the use of pre-existing texts, the model is parasitic to an extent on the established state higher education sector.

Hardly any high-quality law textbooks exist that are not written by academics in the state sector. There is usually insufficient profit available in writing such works for it to be done without the benefit of a salary as an academic. Any use of textbooks by BPP students (or staff) will have been subsidised by the traditional academic sector and its fee-paying students.

I would be happy to see BPP head Carl Lygo explain the business model for his £7,000 per annum (the fee now according to the BPP website) two-year degree but, as with many other areas of the free market, starting with raw materials (core legal information and ideas – no books or articles even, for his staff to refer to) and turning these into the finished output, rather than relying on state-sector subsidised background resources.

Chris Davies
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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Reader's comments (1)

Many BPP University tutors (across all our Schools) produce books, chapters, articles, opinion pieces and deliver papers at conferences which are available to staff and students in the public sector. I myself have written a chapter in a book 'Dissenting Judgments in the Law' (Wildy, Simmonds and Hill 2012) and am currently working on a book with Palgrave (with colleagues from both BPP and the public sector). I've also attended (and will attend more) conferences on partnerships as a speaker. When engaging in this types of activity we are given support from BPP University (that is, time), to write, so the rest of the academy is also able to benefit from the 'subsidy' of BPP University. The suggestion that BPP University is parasitic is therefore incorrect. The fact that publishing doesn't pay isn't an argument against BPP University, but surely with publishers? Much as my public sector colleagues I have not received any money from a publisher for my hard work. Thankfully, I have a salary funded by £6,000 p/a student fees to enable me to do it.