V-c pledges to match fee-debt payments to support students

A vice-chancellor has told staff at his university that he intends to take on the same tuition fee “debt” as future students.

December 10, 2010

Bob Cryan, from the University of Huddersfield, who himself studied at the institution, said he could not ask the university’s students to take on a higher debt burden “without being prepared to do it myself”.

In an email sent to all staff, Professor Cryan says that when fee levels for the university are set, he will arrange a standing order to make payments into a student support fund.

His contribution will be based on the level of repayments faced by future graduates.

In the message, Professor Cryan says the university “fundamentally disagrees” with the government’s proposals – passed by the House of Commons yesterday – to raise the fee cap to £9,000 and cut the teaching budget by 80 per cent.

This “represents the biggest change in higher education funding in nearly a century”, he claims.

However, he says that it is now necessary to focus on the practicalities.

“Between 2012 and 2014 we will lose more than £45 million in government funding,” Professor Cryan writes.

“To maintain the quality of our provision, to ensure our students get the very best educational opportunities, and to preserve jobs, we now have little choice but to work with the new system.”

Because he had benefited from an “outstanding” education at Huddersfield himself, it is only right that he makes a contribution from his own income, Professor Cryan goes on to argue.

His message promises: “Once we have set our fee levels, I intend to take on the same 30-year tuition fee debt as our future students and will set up a standing order to make payments directly to a student support fund for our university.”

Professor Cryan earned £195,000, including benefits, in 2008-09.


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