Spike in numbers at University of Glasgow ‘endangers’ student experience

Minutes from university meeting reveal impact of an influx of English and non-EU students

May 1, 2014

An influx of students from England and outside the European Union at the University of Glasgow has endangered “good student experience” on campus and reduced course subject options, according to the institution’s minutes.

Between 2012 and 2013, the number of students accepted by Glasgow rose 16.5 per cent to 5,135, according to statistics from Ucas.

This “sharp increase in student numbers” was discussed at a university court meeting on 11 December, where it was noted that there “might be some reduction in flexibility of subject choice for students, given what was likely to be a more forward-planned and rigid timetabling/class accommodation system”.

Jess McGrellis, the president of Glasgow’s Students’ Representative Council, demanded at the meeting that action should be taken as “soon as possible to maintain a good student experience” and urged “more creative use of large spaces when they were empty”.

Sports, disability, counselling and advisory services were being “reviewed” because of the “current pressures on them arising from high student numbers”, the minutes say.

The next court meeting’s minutes, of 12 February, say that the university is planning a “slight reduction” in student numbers in 2014-15. According to a spokesman for Glasgow, in the 2013-14 academic year the number of applications from students from the rest of the UK was “substantially higher” than normal and so the university decided to take around 400 more than had been planned. The recruitment of non-EU students was also “slightly” over target.

Scottish-domiciled students do not pay any tuition fees at Glasgow, while those from the rest of the UK are charged up to £9,000 a year but receive no funding from the Scottish government. As a result, Scottish universities can take as many students from the rest of the UK as they wish.

The spokesman added: “A great deal of detailed planning takes place to ensure that our students get the very best from their time here. The university has recently invested very heavily in infrastructure, IT and student facilities and will continue to do so.”

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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