UEL Vice Chancellor speaks out against university reforms

The Vice Chancellor of the University of East London (UEL) has hit out at government university reforms stripping the institution of 1,000 undergraduate applicants.

New central government reforms take a total of �20,000 undergraduate places from higher education institutions in England to be auctioned off to colleges and universities charging �7,500 or less a year in tuition fees to encourage students to consider “low cost alternatives”.

These reforms are expected to increase further education numbers by 25 per cent, taking 1,000 places away from UEL

But UEL Vice Chancellor Professor Patrick McGhee thinks the move will deter potential undergraduate applicants.

Professor McGhee said: “While many further education colleges offer excellent teaching, even the best FE college is no substitute for a student who wants to study a research-led degree on a university campus, with all opportunities that provides.

“The new scheme will reduce the number of students going to higher education, create an unsustainable burden for the taxpayer, increase uncertainty and bureaucracy for universities, and undermine the reputation of British higher educations internationally.”

Newham College, which has campuses in East Ham and Stratford, was the most successful higher education bidder in the country, securing 294 additional undergraduate places.

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On announcing the higher education reforms last year, universities secretary David Willetts said there would be “pressure for quality and value for money” on universities.

Mr Willetts added: “The base case is that we roll over the 20,000 in the core-margin and we repeat that.

“We need to do it year after year at the same base level. I want to carry on making steady progress to spread contestability, but not to impose change in 2013-14 that is too dramatic for the sector to take.”