Students, then salaries

June 4, 2015

The comments regarding the two-tier pay structure at the London School of Economics made by Indi Seehra, director of human resources, omit the fact that it is students’ money that is propping up the extremely generous pay packages for senior academics (“Two-tier pay system emerges at the LSE”, News, 28 May).

The LSE charges its students a premium. International undergraduates pay more than £15,000 a year to study here, while master’s programmes can cost up to £27,000. On top of that, fees for international students and postgraduates increase by 4 per cent each year.

The university is increasingly known as a school for the rich, and students themselves feel like they are being treated as cash cows. Transparent Approach to Costing records show that double the amount of money is spent on research compared with teaching at the LSE.

Serious questions need to be asked about the link between high student fees in international and postgraduate programmes, and how these are used to facilitate inflated salaries, with little tangible impact on the students themselves. Let us not forget that the LSE is near the bottom of Russell Group institutions for National Student Survey scores.

Other universities would do well not to follow suit, and instead focus on making degree programmes accessible and affordable, and use students’ money to invest in the quality of their education, rather than inflating salaries.

Nona Buckley-Irvine
General secretary, London School of Economics Students’ Union

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