The University of Oxford has voted to abolish its Graduate Application Fee.

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.

The Congregation, Oxford’s highest-level decision-making body, had previously voted to maintain the fee during a meeting in March.

The resolution, “To commit the University to the abolition of the graduate application fee in its entirety by the Academic Year 2024–25 and to prevent further fee increases in the meantime”, was rejected by 100 votes to 50.

However, more than 50 members of the Congregation requisitioned a postal vote on the resolution, leading to the reversal of the original decision.

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 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!”

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 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.” 

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.”

Oxford has over 11,000 graduate students and more than 30,000 people applied for graduate study in 2019.

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.

Image credit to: Mike Knell/ Wikimedia Commons


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