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Free «The Impact of Higher Fees on the Students at Bedfordshire University in the UK» Essay Sample

The Universities in England in order to generate more income has decided to increase the fee structure of the EU students. They have also decided to enroll more non EU students so that they can get a full and unregulated fee from them to meet their needs. The UK government policy has introduced a cut in the budget that it provides to higher education. All these are sure to affect the enrollment of the privileged and underprivileged home students in the Universities like Bedfordshire University. The impact of the fee hike on the students is an important topic to be analyzed at this crucial point. This is a report prepared after carefully studying the reaction of a few students in the university by distributing a questionnaire prepared especially to bring out what they have in their mind regarding the fee hike and the enrollment of more non EU students.

Introduction

The Bedfordshire University or for that matter any university, needs grants to fulfill its various needs. This they get through various means such as research grants, government subsidies, student fees and residence charges. The report prepared, analyzes the grants received through the student fees. This they do through the following five ways:

1) Increase the fees of the UK/ EU students.

2) Increase the enrolment of the UK/EU students.

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3) Charging the fees according to the subjects taught. For example the laboratory based subjects demand more fees than the other subjects.

4) Increasing the fees of non EU students.

5) Increasing the number of non EU students.

In this work more emphasis is laid on the two main aspects involved which would affect the students. The EU students being affected due to the increase in the fee and they being affected due to the increase in the enrolment of non EU students. Data was collected through the questionnaire prepared and from this data it is understood that out of the twenty five EU students in the Bedfordshire University who actively answered the questions posed, twenty said that the fee hike would certainly affect the higher education of the EU students. Among them fifteen students did not like the idea of increasing the enrolment of the non EU students. It is essential to study in detail the different reasons which have led the university to financial crisis.

In the year 2010/2011, the annual fee charged to EU students was fixed at £3290. This was above what was got through government funding. Funding levels for universities by the government for the academic year announced, show that funding for teaching has been cut by £1.1bn to £3.2bn, while money for research remains the same as last year at £1.6bn.These gaps in funding are expected to be made up by the lifting of the cap on tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year from this autumn.

Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of Hefce, said there had been a "switch in the balance" of who was paying for higher education now. He said: "Many students from 2012-13 onwards, as graduates, are going to have to repay a lot of this funding and I don't think we can underestimate the effect on them and their families."

Due to this cut in the government funding many reputed universities had to face a great loss. For example, the University of East London had to face a loss of 12.6% and the University of Bedfordshire also faced a loss of 12.4%. While trying to find out the different options to make up the loss incurred on the universities, it was found out that the increase in the level and variety of contributions from students would help. The increase in the fees, contributions of the students after graduation and the graduate tax were proposed to solve the problem. The increase in fee hike to the home students is estimated to increase by three to five times. The reputed universities and the universities based in London are to bring about a great hike. Bedfordshire University occupied the 101th rank among the UK universities. Also the university decided to hike the fees according to the subjects chosen by the students. The Bedfordshire University charged from non EU undergraduate students a fee of £8950 for subjects like Business, Computer science and English. In the case of post graduate students the non EU students were charged £9300 for the same subjects and the EU post graduate students were charged only £4635 for the same subjects. In the case of MBA the university charged £13500 for both EU and non EU students.

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UK universities have earned much reputation in the international level that in the recent years the enrolment of overseas students has increased rapidly. At present among the 1,231,001students in undergraduate program in UK, 14900 are non EU students. In the post graduate program among the total 232000 students, 12500 are from abroad. Compared to the non EU students enrolled in the year 1994, the students enrolled in the year 2008 had increased by three times. The advantages of the increase in the number of non EU student in the University are:

The income from the non EU students can help in the education of the EU students. The home students can benefit from the highly active and motivated overseas students. The UK universities can reach an international level in research contributions. The income earned by the government from the overseas students by providing goods and services is estimated as £2.3 bn a year. They are also tax payers and are excellent workers. The disadvantages in the more and more overseas students entering the university are crowding out of domestic students. Negative peer effects can also be observed. The university will maximize their enrolment to earn more income. The UK economy will face a loss if the overseas students after occupying the space of the EU students leave back to their country. The flow of British techniques and technologies along with the overseas students while back to their countries will reduce the UK’s technological advancement.

A questionnaire was prepared with a set of 15 questions and was distributed to 25 students of the Bedfordshire University. The students were requested to give their opinion sincerely as it was a very important survey to study the impact of fee hike in the University on the students. Students seemed to be quite enthusiastic in answering the questionnaire as they were also the ones affected. After carefully studying the answers posted by the students it was observed that all of them were aware of the problem. While a very few felt that the hike is required many were dissatisfied. Since all of them were EU students most of them felt that the non EU students should be charged more and the EU students should be given concession. While majority of them did not like the idea of increasing the number of the overseas students in the University, still, few accepted that it is necessary to an extent to counter the loss faced by the university due to the change in the government policy. Majority of them also feared a break out of racial problems in future like the ones that had happened in Australian Universities. Many of them also feared that the policy of the University to increase the number of overseas students might ultimately lead to the situation in which the non EU students might outcome EU students. Most of them felt that this crucial situation has risen due to the government changing its policy towards higher education and they really felt disheartened over it. A majority of them did not like the idea of increasing the fees of certain courses which would again bring disparity among the students in the university. Almost 90% of them accepted the fact that the EU students are certainly to suffer as many would stop pursuing post-graduation degree due to the financial crisis faced by many of the UK families. Many of them denied the fact that the university is offering more facilities to the overseas students compared to the EU students. Many of them felt that the overseas students, if given more opportunities, the UK economy is certainly to face problems as by giving opportunities to them the country is losing its potential productivity of its own graduate. More than half of them accepted that their family would not be able to help them pursue higher degree if there is a fee hike. Many of them accepted if given an option that they are ready to pursue their degrees in the universities in Asia where the fee is less and is affordable by their family. When asked whether they fear a blow in the security of the country when more and more visas are issued to more and more non EU students, many of them accepted.

 
 
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From the students point of view it is quite clear that they are disturbed by the government policy. They are also worried about the policy of the University in increasing the fee and in increasing the number of enrolment of the non EU students. They feel that it is their birthright to get the best education possible in their own country. It is the duty of the government to see that its young citizens get the best out of their own universities. So preferences should always be given to the home students than to the overseas students. If the government does not bring about a change then the home students are certainly to lose their opportunities and the overseas students will be the successful ones. Financial incentives should be given to their underprivileged home students. Free education can be provided to the first year students to encourage them.

Considering this impact on non EU students they are also affected. Many students would turn to cheaper universities instead of opting UK universities. Already Chinese students are not willing to join UK universities due to the high fee structure. Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said the UK was in danger of pricing itself out of the market as global competition for students’ shifts. Speaking at the "Global Perspective: Our International Future" conference at the University of Nottingham, he said “the successful internationalization of higher education in the UK underpinned much of the sector's overall prosperity.” However, he warned of "weaknesses and vulnerabilities", including the impact of a downturn in student numbers from overseas. Listing the institutions most heavily dependent on fees from overseas students, he singled out the University of Bedfordshire as an example of one that could potentially face difficulties. “Given that its total income and expenditure are pretty much in balance, any downturn in the international student market - to which I suspect universities such as Bedfordshire are particularly vulnerable - would be very bad news indeed," he said. To conclude with education is essential to all humans and policies should be made to make it globally reachable. Charging exorbitant fees on overseas students in order to make up the loss of the university is not an appreciable solution to the problem. Also enrolling more of overseas students affecting the home students is not acceptable. Brown, who lectures on higher education policy at Hope, while commenting on the devastating cuts, higher fees and market strategies said, "It is the perfect storm. There is going to be a considerable threat to quality. Institutions are going to have to cut their spending on staff and the courses that don't pay their way," he says. "This threat to quality will damage our ability to attract international students who keep the whole thing afloat. This is dramatic. The implications are very serious." According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK's position in international rankings has fallen sharply in less than a decade, with a higher proportion of young people now getting a degree in Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The fee hike in UK universities is likely to increase from £3290 to £7000 this year. People feel it would be really foolish on the part of the government if it hikes the fees to attain a degree.

Appendix

The fee system supporting the higher education in various developed countries.

US

Average annual tuition fee in 2009-10 for a state-linked public university was $7,020; $26,273 for a private one. There is $100bn of federal funding a year for grants, work-study aid and loans.

France

State funding keeps tuition fees for public universities low, varying from €150-€700. Student grants are available on a means-tested basis.

Germany

Tuition fees are set by federal states, generally at €500 per term. One in four students has federal financial support.

Italy

The fee for a public university in 2004-5 was $1,017 a year; $3,520 for a private one. Students can get grants and loans.

   

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