The 40,000 sixth-formers who will be turned away from university this autumn because of Government targets could have their courses assured if universities were allowed to offer places at full fees with no cost to the taxpayer, said Dr Terence Kealey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.
Currently state-supported universities that want to increase numbers face having their funding cut. Universities fear that they will be penalised by up to £10,000 for each extra student they take on over Government targets.
An announcement on May 13 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) confirmed that the Government was limiting expansion of undergraduate places in 2010-11 to 10,000, while the actual demand will be for around 50,000 places (1).
Dr Kealey said: "The Government is limiting university expansion to only 10,000 places. The unmet need may be as much as 40,000 places. We all understand that the Government has run out of money but why does it not allow the universities to meet the unmet need by offering places at full fees? This would represent no cost to the taxpayer.
"At present, Buckingham is the only university free to meet the unmet need and that does not seem fair to the sixth-formers or hard-pressed admissions officers of state-supported universities."
"Buckingham gives a greater contribution to social justice than any other British university: because we charge full fees (£9,000 pa) we allow our undergraduates to work through the long summer vacations, thus completing their degrees in only two years and thus allowing them to work and earn when others are still accumulating debts during their third year.
"If the state university of your choice has turned you away because of a government target you are, in fact, lucky, because that will enable you to come to Buckingham, the most cost-effective university in Britain.
(1) Full Universities Will Turn Away Thousands", The Times, April 9 2009
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The University of Buckingham is the only degree awarding independent university in the United Kingdom.
Buckingham was ranked first in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in the NSS or National Student Survey of student satisfaction
The university's two campuses are both located in Buckingham. The upper campus is mainly devoted to Law and Science, while the riverside campus (in the centre of town), focuses on Business and the Humanities.
There are five faculties in the university: Law, Humanities, Business, Science, and Medicine.
The university was incorporated as the University College of Buckingham in 1973, and received its Royal Charter from the Queen in 1983.
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