Oxford calls for loan plan in vote on top-ups

March 28, 2003

Oxford congregation, known as the parliament of dons because it gives ordinary academics a voice in university affairs, has rejected a motion critical of top-up fees, writes Claire Sanders.

Instead, academics voted by 97 to 45 in favour of an amended motion that read: "It is realistic to expect that students, as independent adults at 18 and major beneficiaries of a university education, should bear some of the costs of a high-quality university education, as at present, but through more advantageous arrangements for a subsidised loan with income-dependent repayments."

The motion made a commitment to access but expressed concerns about government proposals for an access regulator. It argued that "any linkage of funding to the terms and conditions of admission of students is contrary to the Further and Higher Education Act 1992".

Mike Woodin, a lecturer in psychology at Balliol College, and one of the proposers of the original motion, said: "If we gather 50 signatures within six days we can force a postal vote - which we will try to do."

* Oxford University has bought a £10.5 million former hospital site in central Oxford. Vice-chancellor Sir Colin Lucas said: "The Radcliffe Infirmary site is essential for us to develop new research centres and consolidate a number of existing teaching and research facilities in line with our strategic plans."

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