Theo Antoniou-Phillips

undergraduate education
t.antoniou-phillips@uea.ac.uk

Let's bring down academic costs on campus

With UEA’s tuition fees set to rise to £9,250 this September, and to continue climbing in the coming years, students have never been more strapped for cash.

Like many undergraduates, I took out a student loan to help cover my tuition fees and maintenance costs. Though this meant that the money wasn’t literally pouring out of my pockets, knowing that I was going to graduate with +£40,000 of debt did effect how I handled my money while I was studying. I was overly conscious that every book I bought, every library fine, every drink in the bar was pushing me further into debt.

It is vital that the SU and University work together to bring down costs on campus. Students are under enough financial strain already – we shouldn’t be adding to this.

As part of our ‘Student Purse Strings’ campaign we’ve have introduced our value|su range into all of the SU’s outlets. You can now get a cup of tea from Unio for £1, a meal deal in the shop for £2.49, and hot food from the bar from £2.40. We’ve also opened a foodbank for students who are facing food poverty.

I’ve been particularly involved in this campaign where it directly affects your academic interests. I believe that there are many hidden costs associated with studying, which few people consider when they pick their modules.

From compulsory field trips to expensive books on the reading list, hidden costs can come out of nowhere. Even the most careful student can be blindsided by the cost of printing out their weekly seminar reading.

This is why I’m fighting to make module costs transparent. I’m encouraging lecturers to consider ‘resource implications’ when they’re planning modules. In other words, I’m asking lecturers to estimate how much they’re asking students to spend on a particular module. Lecturers rarely think to check that the edition of the book they’re asking students to buy is cheaply available before they put it on the reading list. We hear rumours of students spending upwards of £30 to get a specific edition that has gone out of print.

The SU are also installing a second free printer in Union House. The first one (located outside the Advice Centre) has been fantastic. All you have to do is download an app, and then you’ll be able to print completely for free. There will be small adverts at the top of each page, so this isn’t suitable for assignments, but it will be perfect if you need to print out your own notes.

I’m going to continue fighting to make sure that money doesn’t impact your academic studies. From protesting tuition fee rises to providing free printing, I am fighting for your interests.

To keep up-to-date with the progress of this campaign, check back weekly for my blog! 

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