Public Funding For UK Universities Falls To All-Time Low

british students protesting

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Taxpayer funding for English universities is slated to drop to a mere 15 per cent, the lowest it’s been in 100 years, Graeme Paton with the The Telegraph reports.To make up for the lost public funding, students will see a major tuition hike.

Starting in September, British universities will be allowed to charge students up to £9000 per year, or around $11,489.

The tuition hike was approved by Parliament in December 2010.

The drop in government funding is just the latest step that critics say is slowly transforming a public university system into a private one.

James Vernon, a professor at University of California-Berkeley who graduated from the University of Manchester, spoke recently of his collegiate days when he was able to earn a degree and graduate debt free.

But those days are long gone, Vernon says, with the government changing its stance and claiming degrees are not a public good but rather a private venture.

The University and College Union has echoed this assertion, with general secretary Sally Hunt telling The Telegraph, “This study shows how over the last 30 years higher education funding has shifted from the state to the student.”

The changing structure has caused some universities to consider a permanent move to the private sector. By making the move to privatization, the two unnamed universities would no longer receive government funding, a move supported by a government that says it wants to open up higher education to private providers (at present there are only two private universities in the U.K.).

“You cannot maintain a world-class university system in the 21st century by turning the clock back to the 1900s and before,” Hunt said.

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