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Making students pay

What you weren't told about university funding

One important fact is missing from today's news of a report by the Confederation of British Industry which suggests that university tuition fees should be increased to £5,000 a year or more. The CBI's director general, Richard Lambert, who is quoted in today's Guardian as arguing that necessary savings "should come from the student support system", is also the University of Warwick's chancellor -- a position he has held since August 2008.

A news item on Warwick's website helpfully explains that a university chancellor has responsibilities that go beyond the "formal" and "representational" duties that are typically associated with the position. "The chancellor", it advises, "will also play an important role in the development and fundraising activities of the University."

This raises the question: does Richard Lambert's public association with a report that is likely to influence the government's planned autumn review of higher education funding suggest a conflict of interest? Unsurprisingly, Lambert chose not to air his views on university fees when he addressed students and parents at Warwick's graduation ceremonies back in July.