the brick - issue 13 · trinity term 1998

College Fee to be cut
Record Year For Keble Finalists

Contents | p1 | p2 | p3 | p4 | p5 | p6 | p7 | p8

College Fee to be cut

As foreshadowed in Issue 11, the Government has now decided on the size and timing of cuts in the College Fee – the sum paid annually to Oxbridge colleges to cover undergraduate tuition costs.

Much remains to be settled, but the broad outline is now reasonably clear:

· the total College Fee paid to Oxbridge for undergraduates will be reduced in annual stages from a 'premium' of £35mn to £23mn;

· the cuts will start in the academic year1999/2000 and, in the case of Oxford, are expected be in increments averaging about £1.4mn per year;

· from 1999 the Fee will be paid in a 'single cheque' to the University, which will be responsible for distributing funds to the colleges;

· the Government will use all means available to stop colleges recouping lost income through 'top-up' fees.

Until a distribution formula is agreed the financial impact on Keble remains uncertain. The best current guess, however, is that by 2004 Keble will have lost some £300,000 p.a. of funding ­ a sum approaching one-sixth of its academic budget. Moreover, cuts beyond the £23mn baseline are entirely possible: any prudent long term planning has to contemplate the complete elimination of the Oxbridge premium.

Keble has been building up its conference business in anticipation of such cuts ­ it now has the largest conference income of any Oxford college. But this remains vulnerable to increasing competition, and to recession. In the long run there is no substitute for a stronger endowment. To produce an inflation-proofed increase in income of £300,000 p.a. would require a further £7.5mn in endowment: if the premium were eliminated altogether we would need in excess of £20mn.

Over the coming months Keble's Development Committee will be working on plans to meet this challenge. Meanwhile, Page 4 of this issue carries a report on a major initiative to strengthen further the College's links with its Old Members.

2St John's8.25
12St Edmund Hall8.02
14Lady MH7.93
20Christ Chch7.75
21St Anne's7.73
22St Hugh's7.68
24St Hilda's7.64
26St Catherine's7.56
29St Peter's 7.40
30 Harris Manchester7.00

Record Year for Keble Finalists

When the 1997 Schools results came in it was clear that Keble finalists had done very well. 85% got firsts or upper seconds. But in these days of political correctness the University does not publish exams results by college, so drawing comparisons isn't easy. The Norrington table, devised in 1963 and, for many years, the most watched measure of college performance, no longer has official backing. But the market will always supply a need and, in May, 'The Times' published the table. This showed Keble in sixth position, its best ever placing.

The table is calculated by awarding ten points for a first, eight for a 2.1, six for a 2.2, four for a third and two for a pass, and then calculating the average score per student for each college. Critics of the table argue that the spread of scores is very narrow, so that a handful of results can have a major impact on a college's placing. Whilst recognising this, Tim Jenkinson, Senior Tutor, feels the results support his view that Keble's tutors are particularly effective in helping 'borderline 2.1s'.

'A first needs good tuition but ultimately it's down to the student,' he suggests. 'And at the other end of the spectrum, a third is usually the result of a student adopting other priorities. Almost all our undergraduates are capable of getting 2.1s, but for quite a few the quality of tuition will make the difference between a 2.1 and a 2.2.'

As impressive as its Norrington position, is Keble's ranking for cost-effective tutoring. This measure involves dividing a college's tuition costs by its Schools' points (using the Norrington formula) to give a cost per point . On this measure Keble was placed second, spending one third less per Norrington point than the average.

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copyright © 1998 Keble College, Oxford OX1 3PG