Goldsmiths, University of London, has announced tuition fees of £9,000 for home/EU students studying undergraduate and PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) courses from 2012-13. Goldsmiths says it “is committed to attracting the most promising academic talent from a wide range of backgrounds. To ensure we continue to build on this strong tradition we will introduce a raft of bursaries, waivers and awards worth more than £1.6 million to help students.”
Goldsmiths said ten “best” students from Lewisham will receive a complete fee-waiver covering their entire undergraduate degree. The largest higher educational institution in the borough said cementing the College “in the local community is a priority for us. It is important not only as we have such a strong physical presence here, but also as we need and want to be as socially inclusive as possible.”
Goldsmiths is among the majority of UK universities that have announced £9,000 undergraduate fees for the academic year 2012-13 as a result of the Coalition government’s Higher Educational policy, which is bitterly opposed by the National Union of Students and university lecturers union UCU.
James Haywood, campaigns and communications officer for Goldsmiths Students’ Union, said they were hugely disappointed by the College announcement though the news was “not unexpected.” He said fewer working class students will be coming to the College and into the Humanities because of this level of fees and the potential building up of future debt. He said “This will be disastrous for a university like Goldsmiths.”
Early reaction from the Goldsmiths branch of UCU via Twitter expressed the view “Goldsmiths to be charging £9,000 in fees- very disappointed!”
The College argues that it will be using the maximum fee rate in order to invest in improving the student experience and that its financial allocation to this objective was higher than other universities also charging £9,000:
We will pledge 30% of income from fees above £6,000 on additional measures to improve the student experience and encourage wider access to the College. This is a higher commitment than most other institutions. This substantial level of investment is consistent with our wish to maintain our ongoing success in attracting students to Goldsmiths regardless of their background.
Previously Goldsmiths National Union of Students had sent a message to the council of the College opposing any increase in student fees:
The Students’ Union position is to oppose any rise in tuition fees. We would like it to be noted in the minutes of this meeting that we do not agree to any increase in tuition fees and for this reason we have chosen not to be involved in conversations about what level to raise tuition fees to, as any increase would undermine the notion of a free and fair education. GSU believes that participation in Higher Education should be based on a student’s ability to benefit from it, rather than their ability to pay.
Georgina Mallory asked a random selection of students at Goldsmiths whether they would be prepared to pay £9,000 per year for undergraduate university education.
Additional reporting by Phillip Brown.