Oxford urged to snub extra fees

February 21, 2003

Oxford University should not charge any of the £1,900 top-up fee to avoid the rigours of the access regulator, some academics have argued.

An article in Oxford Magazine , a debating forum, says: "The conditions the white paper proposes for our being allowed to charge extra fees are out of all proportion to their benefit."

The author, Ian Rumfitt, a philosopher at University College, describes the access regulator's powers as "a grip around the university's throat".

He says that the "rationale for charging extra fees... was that it offered the university a chance to recover some of its lost autonomy by making it less dependent upon the government. The white paper, by contrast, offers a small financial benefit in exchange for our sacrificing autonomy in... undergraduate admissions."

The article says that the regulator will be able to impose a central admissions system on the university.

Will Straw, president of the Oxford University Student Union, said: "We would obviously agree that Oxford should not charge the top-up fee, but our concern is to preserve access rather than autonomy."

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