Today (Tuesday 06 March 2018), Jisc announced that due to a significant reduction in their funding, they will be introducing subscription fees for further education colleges from August 2019. In response, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:
“We are disappointed with the decision by DfE to cut the funding to Jisc which supports the college services. Jisc has long been a vital part of the national infrastructure – and remains at the heart of the sector’s response to the fourth industrial revolution, leading on digital infrastructure, innovation and cyber security and ensuring students get the best possible digital services and support.
The DfE decision was made in the last Spending Review and will result in the introduction of subscription fees for colleges to access services. DfE will still heavily subsidise those services however most colleges may have to pay up to £20k, with large multi-site colleges having to find £50k and large college groups, over £100k. Though HE institutions have paid similar fees for the last three years, we made the case to DfE that universities have a much higher funding rate per student, have historically been able to achieve significant surpluses and so are able to better mitigate increased costs. Unfortunately, that case resulted only in a one-year delay in implementing the new fees which will begin from August 2019.
College budgets have been hit harder than any other part of the education system over the last 8 years and we continue to fight for fair funding for colleges and for college students. This new cost for an essential service will be a real struggle for many colleges on top of other rising costs over recent years.
We are working closely with Jisc and the department to understand the nature and impact of these fees, before they are introduced in August 2019, to ensure the best possible outcome for colleges.”