Students Staff

28 April 2011

Essex to invest a quarter of additional fee income in student opportunities

Professor Jules Pretty and Ella Passingham

Watch the video interview here:

Colchester sixth form student Ella Passingham seized the chance to find out more about the changes to university tuition fees when she interviewed the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex.

Ella, 17, a pupil at Colchester County High School for Girls, hopes to study history at University in 2012 after completing her A levels, and will be in the first group of students facing tuition fees of up to £9,000.

She was invited to Essex’s Wivenhoe Park campus to interview Professor Jules Pretty for a vodcast - a video recording which the University is placing on its website and other popular media channels such as YouTube.

The University made the recording as part of its work to explain the new student finance system to sixth form students. The University has also distributed a special postcard with details of the 2012 fees and new student support packages to schools and colleges in Essex, Suffolk and east London.

Essex, along with most research intensive universities, has announced a proposed tuition fee of £9,000 for all undergraduate courses from 2012, although this is subject to the approval of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). Essex is ranked in the top ten universities in the UK for the quality of its research.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Jules Pretty explained: “Our priority is to provide the highest quality teaching and learning opportunities for students, and the best possible facilities, which involves a major programme of investment in new developments. The University will re-invest 25 per cent of its additional fee income to further develop Essex’s excellent track record of providing access to students from less privileged backgrounds.

“We will provide a targeted package of scholarships and bursaries, extend our outreach activities with schools and colleges, and enhance student opportunities. This includes investing in initiatives such as a Skills Centre and funding work opportunities including internships and our student employment scheme Frontrunners. Our aim is to provide students with additional support for their studies, and with developing their skills and experience to help them obtain graduate career opportunities.”

Ella said: “I wasn’t expecting most universities to be charging so much, and it was interesting to hear Jules Pretty explaining why all degrees at Essex will cost the same because you are paying for the whole student experience, not just for a particular course. He also explained there is enough support available in grants and bursaries to help you to be able to go to university.”

All universities proposing fees of more than £6,000 are required to produce an Access Agreement demonstrating how they will ensure fair access for all students regardless of household income. Proposed fees and Access Agreements are subject to the approval of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), with confirmation expected in July.

To see Ella’s vodcast, and for more information about the new student finance system, visit

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