Tuition fees go up this year, as UWE externalises printing costs to the student body: I think this is wrong

UWE wants more money from you. NOW.

With 600 courses both full and part time, and with thousands of modules across the board, UWE is a busy place. Sometimes, I feel it can be hard to be recognised as a human being around here.

With such a large student population I feel much like simply another cog in the UWE machine. Recent changes at UWE have made me increasingly feel in this way. When tuition fees rose from last years fee (£3,225) to this years fee (£3,290), I began to question where all the money we pay to UWE in the form of these tuition fees actually goes.

Following on from this, I started questioning. Why in March 2010 (the last academic year) was I now having to pay to hand in my work? If your new to UWE, let me explain. Basically when we used to hand in our work, there would be a stack of green A4 slips to put on the front of your work and you would sign and date it. This green slip would have a tear off part which would then act as a receipt that you had submitted  it for marking. The new online system involves printing off the cover slip yourself. This, to be honest, is a much more efficient way of doing it and saves everyone a lot of time and possible confusion. The thing that I suggest is unfair is not this new system. There are many benefits to be reaped from the online submission system. What I am against though, is making the student body carry the cost to submit our own work. We are having to pay extra costs on top of our now increased, tuition fees. Depending on who you ask, the student population here at UWE across all campuses is around 28,000. Therefore we have the potential to make our voices heard if we are not happy. If we were to unite over these unfair hidden charges that UWE have sprung us then perhaps we can start doing something about it and make sure our feelings and voices are heard. Only we can change it.

Recently, I stumbled across a UWE Bristol Facebook group. It has been set up as a form of communication from UWE in which anyone can join to see what’s going on at UWE. I put some comments on there about the recent introduction of the new cover sheets. After speaking to two very charming members of staff here at the UWE Marketing department, they now tell me that you actually have the choice to either use the ‘myUWE’ submission option or you still can use the traditional (free) method. It seems to me that this new method is not currently happening across the board. A friend tells me  he had to resubmit something this summer. He also mentioned that on St. Matts campus they are still offering the green slips to students. So why do I think it’s such a problem? Well, on the surface, it’s only four pence per coversheet printed. Times that four pence by ten coursework submissions  over an average students academic year and you get 40 pence. Times that by one thousand students…you get the picture. A lot of money externalised to the student body (it’s four hundred pounds, if your interested).

I think UWE Bristol is a great place to study. However, I do think our education experiences should be fairer. For all. We all pay to come to university, and so I think we have a lot of weight on what happens around campuses here at UWE. It’s time to put our foot down and start making UWE accountable to us. Why do we the students have to pay to print out our own coversheets for coursework? This is disgusting considering we are paying so much in tuition fees already. I also have a friend who tells me that in his exam recently (resit) he not only had to pay for the resit module fee (£50) but even had to pay to print out his work at the end of his session/exam! Ok, I understand that UWE is on an efficiency drive and seeks to improve ‘the student experience’ (‘UWE’s’ words, not mine)I understand that David Cameron and the rest of the ConDems have made cuts in pretty much every public sector, which also has affected the funds in which higher education institutions have enjoyed in recent years.

I understand the need for efficiency here at UWE with such a massive student population. I’m the first to agree that the new system of hand in is actually a whole lot easier! It’s much quicker for everyone.I understand all this. But the thing I don’t agree with is the blatant attempt by UWE to save money- but in the process passing on the costs to us, the students. UWE in recent times has had a culture of people (purposely or not) resitting coursework and not turning up to exams, which understandably could cause administration issues. But it’s not all doom and gloom. So I hear the 24-hour window is back. Well partially anyway. If you submit your work within the 24 hour window then you will be capped at 40%. So what do I suggest? UWE deposits the cost of submitting our work into our pharos accounts. Now that would be fair.