The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Andrew Hamilton, has said that elite universities should be able to charge undergraduates £16,000 per year to better reflect the cost of an undergraduate education.
During his annual oration to the university, the vice-chancellor took the opportunity to state that some universities were “doing very nicely thank you” with fees of £9,000, adding that the fee was “comfortably covering the cost of what they provide to their student”. However, Prof. Hamilton claimed that “excellence in most walks of life does not come cheap,” and that for his university to fill a “£70 million shortfall” it should be able to charge students fees “more closely related to the true cost of the education provided”.
The prof. claimed that Oxford’s status as one of the worlds top universities “will not endure” unless it can fill the “chasm” of lack of funding. This is despite the University of Oxford managing to raise more than £1.25 billion through its fund-raising scheme Oxford Thinking- The Campaign for the University of Oxford since 2008.
Sally Hunt, University and College Union General Secretary, said “Prof Hamilton should perhaps be applauded for going after one of the rawest nerves in politics” but went on to state that “higher university fees are not what this country needs.” She added that “he is wrong to argue that students should pick up tab when we already have the most expensive fees in Europe.”
UEA vice-chancellor Professor Edward Acton commented on the finding of higher education: “I am concerned at the danger that the Government will preside over a dilution of the academic quality of British degrees by allowing inflation to cut university funding in real terms. If that happens, students will suffer lifelong disadvantage. How best to protect the real value of university funding? Through a balance between graduate contributions and teaching grant funded by general taxation.”