The University and College Union yesterday slammed the government after it emerged that Cambridge University plans to charge students £9,000 a year fees.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘The new fees regime exposes just how far out of touch the Cabinet is with hard-working families in this country.
‘We will have situations where students and families are forced to choose courses that best fit their budget, rather than following their dreams or fulfilling their potential.
‘That is a terrible situation for the student, for their parents and for the country.’
A leaked internal Cambridge University document revealed: ‘The level of tuition fee charged from 2012 entry should be the maximum permissible, i.e. £9,000 pa with any subsequent adjustment for inflationary increases.’
Cambridge says that the £9,000 fees will be reduced to £6,000 for all students whose parents earn less than £25,000 a year.
A maximum bursary of £1,625 will be offered to students whose parents earn less than £25,000 a year, reduced on a sliding scale to zero for students whose parents earn more than £42,000 a year.
But the £1,625 bursary represents a cut in the current maintenance bursary of £3,400.
The leaked document makes clear that the university is limiting the maintenance bursary because of a ‘shortfall between cost and income’, in reference to government funding cuts.
Even with charging £9,000 fees, the university expects to experience a ‘significant funding gap’.
In preparation for savage cuts, the university wrote to all staff on January 24 ‘inviting’ them to volunteer for redundancy.
Addressed: ‘To Academic and Academic-Related Staff, Assistant Staff, Research
Staff, and Teaching Associates,’ the letter announces ‘the launch of a University-wide Voluntary Severance Scheme, which aims to provide opportunities for employees to leave the university’s employment voluntarily.
‘Employees whose applications are approved will be eligible to receive a lump sum voluntary severance payment, equivalent to one year’s gross salary.’
It adds: ‘If you are interested in the scheme, please use the enclosed form to make a confidential expression of interest.
‘You will receive a severance payment estimate and, if applicable, a pension estimate . . . The closing date for expressions of interest will be 28 February 2011.’
It continues: ‘To make a formal application for Voluntary Severance please complete the Application form and send this with a copy of the voluntary severance estimate to (HR manager).’
The deadline for ‘expressions of interest’ is February 28 2011, with March 18 2011, the ‘deadline for applications to be registered’.
‘By 24 June 2011 – Outcomes communicated to applicants. 30 September 2011 – Latest leaving date.’
The letter stresses: ‘Please note that there will be no automatic right to voluntary severance.’