higher education - improved offer accepted
WORKERS, JUNE 2004 ISSUE
University teachers are fighting for higher education by winning better pay and conditions: on a 52% turnout, they voted by 84.5% to 15.5% to accept the employers' improved pay offer. Students and the wider public have given massive support. Public opinion is against the government's new plan to allow universities to introduce top-up fees of £3,000 — in a recent poll, 78% of us opposed them and only 16% supported them.
Governments have seriously under-funded higher education in Britain, preferring to shift the costs more and more onto individual students. Funding per student fell by 36% between 1989 and 1997. Total spending on higher education and student support fell by 7% in real terms between 1994/5 and 2003/4, from 1.08% of GDP to 0.78%. Student support fell by 56%, due to the reduction, then the abolition, of the maintenance grant. To bring Britain up to the OECD average spend of 1.3% of GDP on higher education, we need to spend an extra £3 billion.
Meanwhile budget cuts and steep tuition fee increases are denying hundreds of thousands of American students access to college. Last year, more than 100,000 fewer students than expected enrolled in California's colleges, and because of the loss of state revenue, these colleges turned away 50,000 students, largely from working class families.