The University’s Congregation acts as its ‘parliament’. It has over 5,000 members consisting of academic staff, members of college governing bodies, and senior research, computing, library, and administrative staff. Oxford SU had campaigned to remove the application fee, saying that it acted as “a deterrent to pursuing an Oxford education”. In a Student Council vote in Hilary Term, over 90% of students in attendance supported removing the fee. The resolution, “To commit the University to the abolitionof the graduate application fee in its entirety by the Academic Year 2024–25and to prevent further fee increases in the meantime”, was rejected by 100votes to 50. The University of Oxford has voted to abolish its Graduate Application Fee. The resolution was proposed by DPhil student Ben Fernando and seconded by researcher Michael Cassidy. Fernando said: “This is a wonderful testament to what a group of staff, students, and academics working together can do to achieve a fairer and more equitable university. I’m so pleased to have been part of this amazing team of volunteers!” Graduate applicants were previously charged £75 to apply to Oxford, however the University’s Congregation has voted to remove the fee by 419-380 votes. The fee will be phased-out by the 2024-25 academic year. However, more than 50 members of the Congregation requisitioned a postal vote on the resolution, leading to the reversal of the original decision. Image credit to: Mike Knell/ Wikimedia Commons The Congregation, Oxford’s highest-level decision-makingbody, had previously voted to maintain the fee during a meeting in March. Lauren Bolz, the SU’s Vice President for Graduates, added: “I’m excited to continue working with the University to further improve graduate access, particularly to expand the fee waiver to disadvantaged students from all countries before the fee is fully abolished in 2024.” Prior to the vote, graduates could request to receive a fee waiver if they were applying from a low-income country or were a UK applicant from a low-income background. The SU welcomed the decision: “We’re thrilled to see that applicants will no longer face the barrier of an application fee when applying to Oxford. This is a very positive step in the University’s efforts to widen graduate participation and we commend all of the students and sabbatical officers who played a part in pushing this outcome forward.” Oxford hasover 11,000 graduate students and more than 30,000 people applied for graduatestudy in 2019.
Shopper footfall was down by 0.7% in May, lower than a year ago, and down from the 1% rise in April, according to new figures.The BRC/Springboard Footfall Monitor revealed a mixed picture across the UK – with footfall down by 1% on high streets, but up 1.2% in out-of-town areasThe hardest-hit parts of the UK were Northern Ireland (-3.1%), the West Midlands (-2.9%) and the East Midlands (-2.6%).Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium director general, said: “On the surface these figures are fairly flat, but they’re masking widespread regional variations and only two areas in England – Greater London and the East – are showing positive footfall growth compared with May 2012. As the recent unemployment figures highlighted, the outlook in terms of job prospects and economic growth is by no means ‘one size fits all’ across the UK. “While footfall saw a slight drop compared with May 2012, the month’s respectable sales growth suggests that conversion rates were good: people made fewer trips, but responded well to good deals, especially on value ranges and seasonal promotions. Where there was a little growth, retail parks led the way and this could explain why furniture – most commonly sited out of town – was the month’s best-performing category according to our Retail Sales Monitor.“Now that we’re into June, retailers will be hoping that summer sales and sunshine will make for a stronger showing next time.”