It has emerged that one in three vice-chancellors from the Russel Group had a pay rise during the pandemic. Correspondingly they are accused of “cashing in while students suffer”.
10 out of the 24 top British university accounts showed that in the pandemic period of 2020-2021, they paid their boss more than in previous years. The figures come as students revolt against their current teaching methods. At present, every Russel Group university still has online classes, whilst others are returning to pre-pandemic teaching methods.
University College London paid the largest lump sum of £589,000, split between the new and outgoing vice-chancellor, making it a pay rise of £117,000 – a 25% rise on the previous year.
University of York’s boss was the lowest paid at £256,000 whilst the 24 Russel Group chiefs collectively received £9.1million in the year to July. Alice Gast, Imperial College London’s president, got £518,000 which is 11 times the median pays of the college’s fixed-term employees.
When all Covid restrictions were lifted in February this year, a survey found that “blended learning” was still going on at three-quarters of campuses. The survey prompted regulators and ministers to launch inspections at universities and threaten fines.
Last year, the ombudsman received a record high of university complaints from students. Arabella Skinner, from the parent’s group UsForThem, said: “It’s shocking. Students have still been expected to pay full tuition and often, accommodation costs when their educational experience is not what they have paid for. Vice-chancellors are cashing in whilst students’ education suffers”.
A King’s College London spokesman said: “In-person teaching has always been the focus and we continue to make the most of in-person teaching this Semester”.
Adding: “Balanced alongside the university’s commitment to those students who have not managed to make it to London and the uncertainty caused by Covid disruption to our scheduled on-campus teaching. Supporting our students is our top priority, as it has been throughout the last couple of challenging years”.