Colleges Are Ready to Set [Pounds Sterling]300 Student Levy; UNIVERSITIES BLAME GOVERNMENT FOR CASH CRISIS

Article excerpt

Byline: Daily Mail Reporter

STUDENTS face a [pounds sterling]300-a-head levy which would break the principle that they should not have to pay for higher education.

University chiefs confirmed plans for the flat fee yesterday, accusing the Government of abandoning its commitment to quality further education.

The proposal by Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals will be debated at a meeting of all 104 vice chancellors later this week.

If approved, the plan - which would put the higher education establishment in direct conflict with the Government - could also include the boycotting of new quality assurance tests and a publicity campaign to `raise awareness of the damage being caused' by funding cuts.

`Something has to be done to maintain quality,' a spokesman said.

The CVCP said funding, which was cut by [pounds sterling]150million this year, is due to be slashed by a further 9.4 per cent in the next four years.

The levy, for students starting courses after September 1 1997, was a short-term measure to raise about [pounds sterling]50million, it added.

A statement from the CVCP said: `There is no doubt that these further reductions would significantly damage the ability of universities to deliver quality services.

`The Government knows this and, by these cuts, is clearly abandoning its commitment to maintaining a high quality, higher education service for all who are qualified.

`We all hope it will not be necessary to take the action proposed. …