Pounds 3 billion needed for extra students

January 14, 2000

Lecturers are demanding more than Pounds 3.3 billion extra for higher education in the government's next comprehensive spending review.

In its submission to the review this week, lecturers' union Natfhe calls for at least another Pounds 1,168 billion per year. The Association of University Teachers, which made its submission just after Christmas, called for only slightly less at Pounds 1.116 billion.

Their demands are relatively modest compared with the request for Pounds 5 billion extra cash put in by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals.

But the unions say their concerns have been narrower.

They focus on the importance of increasing student participation to 50 per cent and the need to spend extra money on staffing to support this increase.

Both emphasise the importance of the Bett report, which Natfhe calls "the best chance in a generation to reform university staffing".

The AUT submission states: "It is time to put the needs of students in higher education at the centre of the stage. It is time too to put the needs of their teachers - and the academic-related team that supports them - centre stage."

Natfhe wants, per year:

Pounds 88 million to help expand student numbers

Pounds 150 million to increase reach-out third leg funding

Pounds 250 million to increase teaching infrastructure support

Pounds 100 million teaching quality support

Pounds 100 million staffing fund to lower drop-out rates

Pounds 480 million to help fund the recommendations of the Bett report.

The AUT demands, per year:

Pounds 212 million to increase the unit of resource level with inflation, including 10,000 extra students per year and 1,000 teaching and learning support posts

Pounds 12.5 million to provide a Pounds 250 premium per extra international student recruited

Pounds 496 million to take action on long-standing pay problems, including pay discrimination and casualisation

Pounds 200 million funding for research and infrastructure

Pounds 186 million efficiency gain recovery dividend

Pounds 10 million over three years to uprate the research assessment exercise.

It claims that part of the necessary extra cash could be found by returning the proportion of gross domestic product spent on higher education to 0.7 per cent.

Another Pounds 150 million per year could be found from institutions' average annual surplus, says the union, while special higher education investment bonds could raise up to Pounds 2.8 billion more.

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