EIS has major concerns regarding the recommendations published in the Browne Review

The EIS is one of two unions representing academic staff in Scotland’s Higher Education Sector, and is one of five campus trade unions that negotiate pay and other issues with the UK University Employers Association.

Responding to the Browne Review recommendations, an EIS Official said:

"These are recommendations for the UK Government and Parliament to consider, and will only directly affect English Universities and their students. However, if enacted they will also have far reaching consequences for future students in Scottish Universities.

The proposed removal of the current flat rate tuition fee, and its replacement with an uncapped (i.e. unlimited) tuition fee could have profound consequences for English Universities and their students, including:

1. Generating significant amounts of extra revenue for some Universities, if Universities charge more than £6,000 pa in tuition fees.*

2. Allowing for a shift in the burden of funding HE teaching away from the state to the individual student.

3. Vastly increasing the amount of debt for students on leaving university.

4. Allowing some universities to charge higher tuition fees than others leading to a multi-tier university system, with universities receiving various amounts of tuition fees.

5. Allowing some universities to charge higher tuition fees than others hindering attempts to widen access to students of all backgrounds. A danger would be that HEIs that have successfully "widened access” may feel that they must keep tuition fees relatively low and thus reduce the HEIs’ resources for teaching.

Browne’s recommendations envisage a 10% growth in student numbers in English Universities, but this proposed extra funding would allow the UK Government to reduce its funding of the English HE sector. This could be done, for example, by reducing the ‘Teaching Grant’ paid to English Universities. In other words, Browne’s recommendations may be seen as a funding substitution rather than additional funding to many universities.

The Scottish HE system is ultimately funded by the Scottish Government. Much of the Scottish Government’s funding comes from the UK Government’s Block Grant, which is determined by the Barnett Formula. The EIS fears that Browne’s recommendations will, therefore, result in a reduction in the Scottish Block Grant.

If such a cut were passed through to Scottish Universities and HEIs then the effect would be calamitous. The EIS fears that to offset such a cut, Scotland will be forced to adopt some form of tuition fees or graduate tax, both of which the EIS currently opposes.

The Browne review may therefore lead to far reaching consequences in Scotland as well as south of the border.”

* Page 39 of Browne’s report states:

The levy begins at an annual (tuition) charge of £6,000. This may be less than the charge that institutions need to make to replace the HEFCE funding that is removed from the system.


For further information, please contact:
Brian Cooper (Media & Communications), Tel 0131 225 6244