The University presented evidence to the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance.

The University Council has considered the Report from the Browne Review as well as successive Government announcements about national HE funding, fees and student support.

Furthermore it agreed that it would set aside significant time at its scheduled meeting on 6th December to consider these matters in the context of available information. There are votes in Parliament on undergraduate fee levels on 9th December and more Government and HEFCE decisions are expected in the coming weeks.

It will not be possible for the Council responsibly to propose Cambridge arrangements for fees and student support until these decisions have been taken.

A Government White Paper on important aspects of the arrangements for higher education is also expected in 2011 but some Cambridge decisions on fees, widening participation and student support will need to be made well before this.

In the meantime, the Council considers that it should restate the important principles set out below, which are consistent with what Cambridge has already said in its submissions to the Browne Review:

  • Cambridge values diversity amongst its student body and is committed to continuing its current needs-blind admission to its undergraduate courses in order that no suitably-qualified UK student is disadvantaged by financial circumstances from coming to Cambridge. It will also wish to maintain and develop its access arrangements.
  • The University and the Colleges wish to continue to enhance the quality of education in collegiate Cambridge which is vitally important to the University.
  • Cambridge's sources of funding must enable us to sustain and enhance teaching across the broad and diverse range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, and the full spectrum of social, physical, biological, medical and technological sciences, to which we are appropriately committed; there is a need for the funding gap for teaching to be significantly reduced, if not closed.
  • There are strong arguments for a significant degree of public funding for higher education teaching and research, reflecting the public benefit which higher education delivers over and above the benefit to individual recipients of a university education.
  • The cost of undergraduate education should continue to be borne by
    • Government in the form of a subject-weighted grant per student;
    • students and their families in the form of an annual tuition fee;
    • the University in the form of bursaries to individuals and support for delivery of courses from endowment or other income.
  • Excellent educational provision must be delivered effectively and efficiently through both College and University teaching;
  • Changes to the national funding system and to institutional arrangements must not reduce the proper autonomy of the University, and ideally should increase it; regulation should be proportionate and not increased.

The Council, through a broadly constituted group, including College and student members, is considering the most appropriate fee, bursary and access arrangements for the University as national changes are determined, including also the collegiate University's extensive programme of activities to maintain and develop access (much of which is not publicly financed).

The Council expects to make further announcements in 2011.

 


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