Nancy Rothwell says £9.25k fees aren’t enough despite Manchester Uni making £120 million surplus

That £170 might buy you a few shops at big Sainos but it’s not helping you beat inflation

University of Manchester Vice-Chancellor Nancy Rothwell has told staff that £9,250 tuition fees aren’t enough despite the uni bringing in £60 million extra this year.

Manchester University released its 2021/22 financial summary on Thursday.

The summary, as published on StaffNet, revealed that the university has virtually doubled its £61.4 million surplus from 2020/21 to £119.7 million in the last academic year.

Rothwell noted that the increased surplus comes as a result of “delays in spending post-COVID and much higher than usual staff vacancies which is negatively impacting on staff workloads and delivering our core mission.”

UoM’s £120 million surplus comes against the backdrop of hundreds of members of staff striking in the past two weeks over demands for better pay and working conditions.

Image Credit: Instagram @uomucu

Systemic inequalities within the university mean there are longstanding gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps and, with staff regularly working unpaid overtime, strikers demanded the university focus on providing manageable hours and reducing stress and ill health.

There are 196 members of staff paid from between £100k and £345k while the median staff salary is £27.9k. Rothwell’s salary is £260,399.

Rothwell argues that the university faces an “unsustainable financial future” because the £9,250 UK undergraduate fee is now only worth £6,500 compared to when it was introduced.

While this may be the case, what Nancy leaves out is that the skyrocketing inflation that has devalued UK tuition fees is simultaneously devaluing student loans.

This academic year, the value of maintenance loans rose by 2.3 per cent, however, with inflation at 9.6 per cent in October, the loans aren’t matching the pace of inflation.

In real terms, this means students can’t afford to buy as much as they could last year for the same amount of money.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) argues monetary issues could become a growing barrier to higher education for many, as the most disadvantaged students will be £1.2k worse off in the coming academic year.

On top of this, Manchester uni has compensated for the devaluation of UK tuition fees by hiking up the tuition fees for international students by up to 10.3 per cent since 2019.

UoM was clear to highlight that it does not make a profit on the excess income it receives – “all income is reinvested to fulfil the University’s strategic potential.”

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