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Fines versus interest rates

Vice-chancellors face fines for high pay, with a “spiky” encounter expected at the Universities UK annual conference, where its president, Janet Beer, will call for lower interest rates on student loans

Today’s papers

The new Office for Students could fine universities if they are unable to justify paying their vice-chancellors more than £150,000 a year, reports The Times and many others. Universities will also need to publish details of all staff earning more than £100,000, and the ratio of its best-paid employee to its median salary. The measure will be announced by Jo Johnson, the universities minister, later today at the Universities UK annual conference. He has just told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it is mportant that public trust in remuneration committees increases and that students feel they are getting value for money. At the same time the government wants the UK’s institutions to be able to compete in a global market for talent. Both Nicola Dandridge and Michael Barber have voluntarily agreed to take pay cuts, he said. Earlier this week, Janet Beer, UUK’s new president, who earns just over £340,000, said the £150,000 figure—the pay of the prime minister—was an “arbitrary…nonsense number”. Times Higher Education points out that imposing the fine could be tricky for the chief executive of OfS, Nicola Dandridge, who frequently defended vice-chancellors’pay in her former role as UUK chief executive. However, the present chief executive Alistair Jarvis tweeted in response to the story that it was right to expect the process for determining pay would be rigorous and transparent and reasonable to expect decisions would be explained and justified.

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