After mass student protests in London over spiked tuition fees, the abolition of student grants (which was designed to help poorer students through school), and the reports of England having the most expensive tuition in the world, the Free University of Brighton (FUB) is now offering students fee-free tuition as a reprieve from the country’s education crisis, Dazed reports.
Free University Brighton founder, Ali Ghanimi, was inspired by student resistance and radical organizations challenging the status quo:
“(The tuition fee hike and government cuts) got me thinking about the dire situation education was in, and how inaccessible it was for many people. Then I went to Occupy London and saw their Tent City University – people creating the means to educate each other, about things that impacted their lives and what they could do to affect change. I thought if that could happen in a tent by the steps of St Pauls, why not in all towns and cities using public space on a more permanent basis?”
FUB offers educational courses that Ghanimi stresses are “cooperatively organized,” with fields of study varying from Criminology, Sociology, Philosophy, Media Studies, Political Economy, Gender Studies, and International Relations. Despite being fee-free, the quality of education is of no lesser value, according to Ghanimi. “We offer all sorts of educational events. We have been validated in the same way as conventional universities so the quality is the same.”
The school has also managed to stay fee-free by receiving donations, without relying on grants or trust funds.
The news comes just after weeks of Brexit, the U.K. referendum in which citizens of England voted to leave the European Union. The decision to open a free university will not only bode well for poorer students, but also for African and Middle Eastern immigrants who arrive there to study.