Motion on Supporting the Student Campaign to Abolish the Postgraduate Application Fee

Cambridge UCU notes:

  •     That the University of Cambridge currently charges applicants £70 per application to a postgraduate course, with a rise to £75 planned for next application cycle;
  •     That across the UK, very few universities charge an application fee for all postgraduate courses, with the University of Oxford having the most similar model;
  •     That the application fee is a barrier to postgraduate study that runs counter to the University’s stated commitment to widening participation;
  •     That despite the fee waiver for refugee applicants, low-income home applicants, and applicants from a list of ‘low-development’ and ‘low-income’ countries, the waiver application process can be difficult to navigate and the criteria do not cover large sections of prospective applicants who cannot afford the application fee;
  •     That widening participation to postgraduate study is crucial to addressing structural inequalities among higher education staff, and vice versa;
  •     That it is unfair for the fees to raise a large sum of money from individuals predominantly at the very early stages of their careers;
  •     That postgraduate students teach almost 25% of all supervision at the university, and also make large contributions to the research carried out by the university – and as such they are not just students, but crucial to the university’s ability to carry out its core tasks.

Cambridge UCU additionally notes:

  •     That in September 2020, the University of Oxford’s Congregation voted to abolish their £75 postgraduate application fee, which will now be phased out by the 2024-25 academic year;
  •     That as a result, students have started to organise a campaign to abolish Cambridge’s postgraduate application fee, including an open letter and working group;
  •     That this campaign is supported by Cambridge SU.

Cambridge UCU therefore resolves:

  •     To formally and publicly support the SU-backed student campaign to abolish Cambridge’s postgraduate application fee.