A motion to back student support for national demonstrations against higher education funding cuts has been passed. The motion was proposed by Education Officer Elizabeth Goddard, in line with her election promise to improve academic equal opportunities and in response to the University’s announcement in April that tuition fees will be raised to £9,000 from 2012. The motion was seconded by the SU president Alex Corck-Adelman and passed with no opposition.
The Higher Education Funding Policy motion includes two main elements. The main focus of the motion was to secure support for a national campaign against further fees increases, but it also mandates some important alterations for the University of Nottingham. The SU will demand better value for money and an enhanced student experience in order to help justify such a significant increase in fees. Specifically, value for money will be delivered through a Student Charter, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of students studying at the university. An enhanced student experience will begin with the SU working with the University to provide “the best careers service in the country.”
In the motion, Goddard argued that nationwide increases to fees is “the biggest barrier to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds” in their decision to attend university, and that “financial incentives should not be a factor in a student’s educational choices.” To deal with potential changes in University policy in the future, the SU will petition for a referendum among students on any changes to the level of fees, in line with the new systems of democratic governance to be introduced to the SU.
The motion was passed to show that the SU are opposed to any action that could have a negative impact on educational quality for its students. The motion argued that the vast majority of University of Nottingham students are against increases in the cost of higher education, and in recognition of this, the SU aimed to offer support to any students wishing to attend the NUS-supported National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, which was held on 9th November in London.