All entries for Sunday 14 May 2006

May 14, 2006

University Spending of Top Up Fees?

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I have been reading on insite today about the spending of university top–up fees. For 2006/07 Warwick will receive 4.9million pounds. Of this, 1.5 million pounds will be spent on student financial support. This is good. 1.4 million pounds will be ploughed into merit pay and such things for staff. This is good too. The question is what about the other 2 million pounds?

Insite descibes a number of 'initiatives designed to improve the student learning experience'. Insite describes also how 'in preparation for the advent of top–up fees the University has already invested a considerable sum in the creation of the two Learning Grids, the co–location of the Student Support and Development Centre, improved sporting facilities (including a £1m contribution to a planned new indoor tennis centre at Westwood) and new academic staff posts'. The tennis court particularly suprised me – is this the kind of initiative that top–up fees are going to spent on? Who actually cares if there are new tennis courts at Warwick or not?

Insite lists 'developments that have already been approved':'further investment in IT infrastructure including e–learning development, improved student support and new software to improve services' and 'investment in the Library'. This seems fair enough, but shouldn't the university be funding these projects anyway out its own pocket rather than dipping into top–up fees. Other projects under consideration are fair: 'Additional support for the Students’ Union – including the refurbishment of Union South', 'Increased support for e–learning development', 'investment in improved student administration', 'extended support hours for IT Services'.
But who needs '24–hour Library opening hours'? Students need to learn to organise their time well and to have 24 hour library opening hours is frankly sending a bad message. 'Pulling an all nighter' should not be encouraged by the university.


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