The University of Lincoln’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. David Chiddick, has spoken out against fellow vice-chancellors, following a recent anonymous survey by the BBC. Two-thirds of Vice-Chancellors claimed to need an increase in fees; half of them proposing that students should pay at least £5,000 per year of study.
Professor Chiddick, who earns £189,000 per year, completed the survey and fell in with the third of vice-chancellors who do not support an increase. He said “I am philosophically opposed to increasing fees… where higher education is a substantial public good and students, as adults, should not be assessed according to parental income.”
In place of higher fees, he suggested increasing income for the university through “the recruitment of overseas students” and working “closely with employers without in any way fettering the research and teaching ambitions of the university”.
Prof. Chiddick claimed that this was not the time to look at increasing fees, but how graduates and those graduating with debt can manage their financial burden.
Prof. Chiddick believes that the “Government’s and individuals’ attitudes towards debt” must change.” “The only way forward in the long term is to hold the student maximum loan to £3k and let inflation over time render this an increasingly lower real-value sum.” Prof. Chiddick also claimed he “would not be open to increasing fees once the economy recovers, or we will be back in this situation at the next inevitable economic downturn — whenever that may be”.
The government are set to review fees this year, five years after they were brought in. The current cap is £3,500 per year, but some vice-chancellors suggested a rise to £20,000 per year, similar to levels in the United States. Following the news, hundreds of students representing universities from across the country descended on Parliament as the NUS lobbied MPs to support an alternative to top-up fees. The NUS then proposed several radical measures aimed at improving the Higher Education system, including graduates contributing an amount that is reflective of how the system has benefitted them financially.
Wes Streeting, President of NUS, slated the vice-chancellors for their “arrogance”. Third-year Psychology student Lianna Horlock said: “I think the issue should be accessibility. Money should be no barrier for education. Ideally, it would be free, but to talk about increasing fees is totally wrong.”
● The reaction of many vice-chancellors up and down the country to this survey has sparked a backlash with regards to their salaries. The average salary for a vice-chancellor at a university is £193, 970 – an increase of 9 percent since the previous year. In total, the increases to vice-chancellors’ pay-packets topped £30 million. The top earner is Sir Colin Campbell, vice-chancellor at the University of Nottingham, who takes home £585,000 per year. David Chiddick of Lincoln earns less than half of this at £189,000 per year, £4,970 below the average. He saw an increase of £3,000 in a year – £13,740 less than the increase on the average.
Prof. Chiddick will be retiring at the end of December this year.Tweet