GuildHE response to NUS higher education funding blueprint


The higher education representative body GuildHE has responded to the National Union of Students’ Blueprint for an Alternative Higher Education Funding System, published today.

Professor Ruth Farwell ,Vice Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University and GuildHE Chair Designate, said: “GuildHE will want to support ideas which recognise the value of the student experience and engage students in the decision-making about their futures. But solutions must be balanced by a realistic understanding of not only the stretch of public funding but also the timing of change against a UK in recession. It is especially noteworthy to see attention being paid to all modes of learning. The future review of fees must seek a better solution for part-time students and the NUS is delivering the kind of questioning and challenge that will take the debate forward.

“We are impressed by the seriousness with which the NUS has approached this difficult topic. Their responsible and thoughtful analysis merits careful study and GuildHE wants to acknowledge that the NUS’s work will encourage the sector to respond with their own alternatives.”

Professor David Baker Principal of University College Plymouth St Mark and St John and GuildHE Chair said: “We will want to talk in detail with NUS colleagues about the variety of ideas they are suggesting. It is clear that this will be a hard debate in the face of tough financial prospects facing higher education and in a most challenging public sector funding environment. But the student voice must be heard and we should all be prepared to listen. The status quo is not an option.

"The progress made in widening participation must continue to be secured through whatever funding solution can eventually be established. It must balance the interests of students, higher education providers, employers and the broader society. “

Alice Hynes GuildHE Chief Executive said: “The anomalies between full time and part time students must be addressed and the NUS makes interesting suggestions worthy of closer scrutiny. Tackling these issues requires old defended positions to be re-examined and the dust to be shaken – NUS has been doing just that.

"The key points the NUS report raises about OECD comparisons must be taken on board not only by colleagues in the new Department for Business Innovation and Skills, but also by the ordinary voter who should be encouraged to consider the role of higher education in sustainable knowledge economies. ”