Students to have value-for-money contracts with universities


Scholars will have formal contracts with universities, so they can call into them over too few teaching hours or if facilities are inadequate, says Universities Woman of the cloth Jo Johnson.

Mr Johnson highlighted growing concerns among students nearby not getting good value for money.

He also warned universities to a close «excessive» pay for vice-chancellors.

But Mr Johnson rejected calls to scrap tuition pays — saying it would be a «disaster of historic proportions».

The Russell Group of foremost universities was lukewarm in its response to the idea of a binding contract — warning of «unintended consequences» and voice that «no one would want to see standards undermined by the risk of legal liveliness».

Labour said that talk about value for money for scholars was a «smokescreen» to cover for the unpopularity of the rising cost of fees.

In a speech to the Remodel think tank in London, Mr Johnson fought back against invokes to stop the rise in tuition fees and interest rates on loans.

The Introduce for Fiscal Studies has warned that higher fees of £9,250 and good rates rising to 6.1% will mean graduates leaving university with obligations of more than £50,000 on average.

Former Education Minister Jehovah domineer Adonis has called such high levels of fees and interest imbues «indefensible», and the head of the Russell Group of universities has called for a reassessment of attracted by rates.

But Mr Johnson, while saying such charges would be incarcerated «under review», he defended the principles underlying the current system as advancing and providing the funding for extra university places.

Mr Johnson said it was «embarrassing» and «entirely false» to suggest that higher tuition fees had deterred defected students from going to university — and that entry rates for immature people from poorer backgrounds were at record levels.

Job’s policy of scrapping tuition fees would mean universities depending on control funding, said Mr Johnson, and he said that if higher education was fighting against other pressures on public spending, universities would see their budgets squeezed.

It desire mean a «long decline into mediocrity», said Mr Johnson, and a accepting number of places.

He said the cost of scrapping fees, clearing remaining student-loan debts and repaying students who had already paid off their loans wish require a 2.5p hike in the basic rate of income tax.

But he also gathered for the university system to become much more responsive to the needs of pupils.

Mr Johnson said the newly established Office for Students would upon how to introduce contracts for all students, giving them a way of contesting the quality of their courses.

This desire cover areas such as contact time, resources and assessments.

«Although covenants do exist in various forms in some institutions, most of them do not forearm enough detail to be useful,» said Mr Johnson.

«Providing students with titanic contractual certainty», said Mr Johnson, would «help to address much of the uneasiness over seeming poor value-for-money of undergraduate education».

Mr Johnson declared such contracts would tackle problems of «non-delivery» for students and thinks fitting give them «some form of redress», which could comprise «legal remedies».

The minister also told universities to restrain pay for vice-chancellors — with dozens of university mains now receiving over £300,000 and some being paid more than £400,000.

«When swots and taxpayers invest so heavily in our higher education system, value for wampum should be guaranteed. Yet, I am still hearing students say that their undoubtedly is poor quality.

«This is not good enough, especially when some vice-chancellors abide home a wage that in some cases exceeds that of the prime ecclesiastic.»

But Labour’s universities spokesman, Gordon Marsden, said Mr Johnson was «quite toothless» over vice-chancellors’ pay and his complaints would be «kicked into the large grass».

«His announcements today are a smokescreen to dodge mounting evidence that the price of loans is pushing students away from applying to university and also pressurizing more to drop out,» said Mr Marsden.

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