21 November, 2012

London, UK – On the day of the first major NUS demonstration in nearly two years, the Education Commission published a report into the effects of increased tuition fees and privatisation in the higher education sector.


Education Commission spokesperson Lou Shelley said:
“Our research clearly shows that the rise in tuition fees and the Con-Dem’s program of privatisation has sent out a clear signal to private equity fund vultures like KPMG that the bloodied carcass of higher education is ripe for the taking.”

The report highlights the ways in which higher education legislation passed in December 2010 has not only led to massive rises in tuition fees, and a widening gap between elite and other universities, but has also opened the door to a growing number of private corporations offering university degrees and university estates services in Britain.

The report, entitled ‘Foot in the Door: Profit and Public Education’, argues that changes to legislation mean that public money is increasingly being funnelled to private higher education providers and that the new university funding system will likely lead to future privatisations of public higher education and deeper segregation within the university sector.

The report also points to the increasingly repressive policing of universities by the UK Border Agency.

Key Findings

– Three quarters of English universities charge the maximum possible fee of £9,000/year
– Private colleges have received almost £25 million in state-subsidised student loans since increased tuition fees were introduced
– The government’s Skills Funding Agency gave over £300 million to companies backed by just five private equity funds to provide education to adults in 2011-12
– Private equity-backed education corporations now take up 9% of the government’s entire adult learning budget and 27% of the Conservative Party’s funding
– Private higher education corporations don’t pay VAT on student fees, a response to lobbying by the massive “Big Four” global accounting firm KPM

About the Education Commission
The Education Commission is an open research and action group, made up of students, lecturers, admin workers, teachers, and parents. It aims to research and take action around the current conditions in the education sector. In the wake of the UK Border Agency’s revocation of London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor Status and consequent plans to deport potentially thousands of international students along with further plans for privatisation across the sector, the commission proposes to investigate and take action around the changing nature of the education in the UK since the abolition of the EMA and mass increase of university tuition fees in 2010. It aims to draw together student, parent, and education workers’ experiences as well as available data in order to produce and disseminate as accurate a picture as possible of the current state and trends in higher education in the UK. It does so in support of and solidarity with current and future struggles in education.

Lou Shelley
The Education Commission
E-mail: contact.edu.comm@gmail.com