English literature undergrads are being charged hundreds of pounds per year out of their own pocket to access the core texts required for modules, York Vision has found.
The core texts required for the mandatory modules, which have to be taken in first and second year by all single-honours English students, have reached £192.79, despite the English & Related Literature Department striking a deal with Blackwell’s Leeds to provide all of the books as part of bundles.
This is extended for many into optional modules, as second-year modules such as The Renaissance and Victorians can each cost around £40. York Vision understands that many students in the department have begun to choose modules because they are relatively cost-light, rather than any inherent interest in the content. This could potentially negatively impact these students’ grades.
A 2016 York Vision investigation undertaken by former Managing Director Abbie Llewelyn (now working at the Daily Express), revealed that for the Department, students only received £5,328 worth of teaching and materials for their tuition fees, than a maximum of £9,000.
In recent years, YUSU has stapled their colours to the mast when it comes to the equity of provision, with a comprehensive report into the ways in which YUSU can lobby for changes to University academic policy, so that the undergraduate degrees can recoup some of the value that they have lost since the 2011 rise of the tuition fee cap.
This report, commissioned by former YUSU Academic Officer James Hare, has yet to see significant changes to the structure of the English undergraduate degree.
It remains to be seen whether changes will be implement in this or future years.