Hundreds of Goldsmiths students held a demonstration outside Deptford Town Hall yesterday (October 4) in protest at the university’s plans to once again raise tuition fees.
The students gathered together in the afternoon, after Goldsmiths management said that they would be once again raising the student fees next year. This comes after the government announced last week that fees would be rising to as much as £9500 for students starting higher education in 2018.
Protesters organised through Twitter, after expressing their disappointment at the increase in fees, with some suggesting that fees would reach as much as £10,500 by 2021.
They argue that the continued increase in fees puts students from lower-income backgrounds at a disadvantage, and claim that education in the UK has already received exponential cuts.
George Edmondson, 19, a first year Popular Music student at Goldsmiths said it was “heartbreaking” to see so many students now unable to go to university:
“I know a few people myself that don’t come to university because it’s seen as something that is just too expensive, and they’ll never get to express their creativity.”
Ayeisha Hardcastle, 22, a third year English student, echoed these sentiments: “[The increase in fees] definitely has deterred people from coming to university. I don’t think many people, especially those from lower-income backgrounds, will now be able to go to university.”
A spokesperson for Goldsmiths said: “As part of a raft of proposals, the Government wants to allow universities to increase their fees in line with inflation subject to a successful assessment by a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The current tuition fee is fixed while costs rise. Releasing the fee cap is a matter for parliament.
“Our Finance and Resources Committee has given authority to the College to raise fees to £9,250, should the cap be removed. The new fees will apply to new students only and will not apply to those currently enrolled on undergraduate courses at Goldsmiths.
“The bulk of any additional fee income that arises from the increase will be reinvested back into the student experience, including bursaries for those who need it, such as to cover costs of accommodation, improvements to student support services and campus facilities. We are guided by student feedback and the Students’ Union as to where the need is.”
The Universities Minister Jo Johnson claims that the increase in fees, along with a new gold/silver/bronze grading system for universities “will also give students clear, understandable information about where the best teaching is on offer”.
But even universities in the lowest tier will be able to charge the same basic tuition fee in 2018 as those in the top tier.