Dons defend plan for £18,000-a-year college
Monday 06 June 2011
Leading academics have defended their plans to build a privately funded university to rival Oxford and Cambridge from accusations of elitism.
Only straight A students will be able to apply to £18,000 a year New College of the Humanities in central London to take degrees– accredited by the University of London – in a range of subjects such as law, economics and philosophy.
The college, which will open next academic year and will be run for profit, has been established with £10m from City financiers, a multi-millionaire Swiss couple and the 14 professors themselves.
Professor AC Grayling, the philosopher and atheist, will be the college's first Master and other academics, who will all teach, include Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and Sir Christopher Ricks, former Oxford professor of poetry.
Prof Grayling said the institution was created as a reaction to cuts to funding for humanities subjects and would “offer a new model of higher education for the humanities in the UK”.
He said it was “coincidence” the university’s fees – which are exempt from Government regulations because they are privately funded - were exactly twice as high as the maximum that can be charged by state-funded institutions.
He said the university had already received a couple of applications and said £18,000 “was the cost of running the course”.
“The point is at the end of the day there is not enough capacity to satisfy demand, there are 10,000 British kids studying in the US,” he said, adding the university had set up a charitable trust which could help up to 30 per cent of students to receive discounted education.
Asked how the college would marry its philanthropic aim with the profit motive he said: “People who have a [business] interest in the college will get some return on their money, that’s just business [but] we could end up being the only university in the country to offer totally free education to the poorest students.”
Prof Grayling added current fee levels at state universities would have to rise.
“The £9,000 fee is unsustainable, that ceiling will be shattered in a few years,” he said.
“If you talk to people at Oxford about what they are charging they would say the economic rate [of running a course] is more in the region of £30,000 a year.”
But Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, said the move by the academics would only serve a small section of students and hasten the downfall of state institutions.
"When private institutions charge such high fees, an extra £9,000 on top of the already trebled fees, they will exclude all but the very richest students, even with financial support available for a small amount,” he said. “This institution has been created as an reaction to the Government's swingeing cuts to higher education funding that have seen all teaching funding removed from many humanities subjects. As an education in humanities from some of the leading thinkers in the world will be restricted to the richest and those academics will be removed from the public system. If the Government does not hit the brakes on this rushed reform and reverse the cuts to funding the UK's currently world-leading public universities will be irreparably damaged."
Students at the new university will expect Oxbridge-style one-to-one tutorials with academics, more than 12 contact hours a week and a 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio.
Students will take three "intellectual skills" modules in science literacy, logic and critical thinking and applied ethics.
Prof Grayling, added: “Our priorities at the college will be excellent teaching quality, excellent ratios of teachers to students, and a strongly supportive and responsive learning environment,” he said. “Our students will be challenged to develop as skilled, informed and reflective thinkers, and will receive an education to match that aspiration.”
The new institution is expected to become the forerunner of a new wave of privately-funded universities.
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
- 1 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 3 Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 How the NHS is being dismantled in 10 easy steps
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Outstanding East London primary school seeking an Ea...
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Southwark primary School looking for teaching assist...
£24,451 - £27,061 per annum: Royal College of Music: The Royal College of Musi...
£35 - £45k DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Optimisation Analyst is...