Christ Church college students back tuition fees hike

Image caption,
Christ Church is one of the largest colleges at the University of Oxford

Students from an Oxford University college have come out in support of controversial government plans to raise tuition fees.

While 50,000 students and lecturers joined angry protests against the increase last week, undergraduates at Christ Church college voted for it.

The college's junior common room held an emergency general meeting to discuss the contentious issue.

It was called by members who said the college "should have a position" on it.

Law student Sebastien Fivaz, who proposed the motion, said: "It's regrettable to raise tuition fees but I don't think we should be in a position where the government has to plug the hole in funding."

The motion was passed when 21 students at the prestigious college voted in favour of raising fees while 14 voted against and four abstained.

'Good bursaries'

However the majority of the students disagreed with government plans to make swingeing cuts to university budgets.

It has been feared that under the plans, top universities like Oxford and Cambridge would raise fees to the maximum amount of £9,000, deterring all but the richest from applying.

Mr Fivaz, 19, a second year undergraduate, admitted increased fees could deter poorer pupils from going to university.

He said: "There is a risk that some people will be put off and it may be applicants from poorer backgrounds.

"But if we have strong access initiatives and good careers advice I think that can counteract the higher fees.

"At a university like Oxford, you're guaranteed to have good bursaries."

Christ Church is one of the largest Oxford colleges.

Famous alumni include 19th Century Prime Minister William Gladstone, poet WH Auden, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and broadcaster David Dimbleby.

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