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Students debate fees and funding with Vice-Chancellor

Students had the chance to quiz De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Vice-Chancellor about how their university is funded in a packed debate.

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Professor Dominic Shellard and Ahtesham Mahmood, De Montfort Students’ Union president, led the latest in a series of talks as part of our Keep Universities for the Many campaign

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a major review of university funding. This has sparked national debate including calls for former polytechnics to lose their university status and for fees to be set according to the earning potential associated with that subject.

Prof Shellard believes a Royal Commission should be set up to lead this review in order to take the politics out of the issue and encourage sensible debate. A Royal Commission is a politically independent public inquiry.

During the debate, he broke down the £9,000 fee explaining how it was spent at DMU, including setting aside bursaries for #DMUglobal opportunities and funding for final year students to travel to job interviews.

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He talked through scenarios of abolishing fees entirely, keeping the status quo as well as other options and how each would affect universities. Prof Shellard also called for the maintenance grants to be reinstated and bursaries restored – as well as interest rates on student loans to be slashed.

DSU ran an interactive poll asking people to vote on how universities should be funded. At the beginning of the debate, more people felt fees should be funded by the state. By the end, that had shifted to a part state, part student funding model.

RELATED NEWS:
* Find out more about life at De Montfort Students' Union
* Book a place at a DMU Open Day
* Join our Keep Universities for the Many campaign

DMU’s Keep Universities for the Many campaign is encouraging students and staff to have their say and to feed their ideas into the wider political conversation. The next talk will be from Ben Browne, chief operating officer, on Thursday October 19.

Demi Rixon, who is the DSU Disability Rep, said: “It was such a great idea the Vice-Chancellor had to make the university funding completely transparent. It feels like for the first time, I have got a voice.

“He opened up about tuition fees. Before, I was like 9K that’s a lot, where does it go? Now he’s told us where it goes I can understand.”

DSU president Ahtesham said: “It was absolutely fantastic to get a range of different perspectives in the room. People were all sharing opinions of how they think the future of education should be going.”

Posted on Friday 13th October 2017

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