Due to significant funding cuts soon be announced, English colleges will more than likely have to start paying Jisc in order to gain access to critical IT services. According to the Department of Education, these changes are set to come into effect from next year. The new order of things is primarily the result of a spending review study conducted in 2015. According to officials, students today will have to fork out at least £15,000 a year, and possibly as much as £100,000 beginning of August 2019 for IT services, which will also include access to the Janet network.
The chief executive of Jisc, Paul Feldman also confirmed that the DFE had plans to make changes on Jisc funding that would result in reduced contributions. He also informed members that even though the digital organization would still continue to receive some funds from the government; it would still have to institute a subscription policy for all of its general college members throughout England. This is the only way it will be able to continue providing essential IT services such as the Janet network, as well as other cybersecurity features with the new budget cuts.
The idea of a mixed funding model was proposed by the DFE in an effort to ensure there is accountability, continued contributions, and quality service delivery. However, the AoC chief executive, David Hughes was not pleased with the decision. According to David, college budgets have been facing some of the most significant cuts over the last 8 years when compared to other sectors of the education system. As a result, he vowed to continue the fight for fair funding for colleges and its students.
Mr Hughes also went on to add that he had made an appeal to the DFE outlining the fact that universities received better funding, and were therefore in a better position to handle increased costs, unlike colleges. Sadly, that effort only saw a one-year delay in the implementation of the new fees.
The recent budget announcement only impacts general FE colleges in England. In the meantime, Jisc is still awaiting a response regarding funding for sixth-form colleges, which includes the ones that have converted to academies and various independent specialist colleges.
With the way things stand right now, it is still unclear how much money will be retracted from Jisc’s funding kitty. However, stats show that it has already been cut by as much 10 million over the last five years.
Jisc, which serves as the Joint Information and System Committee came into being in 1993. Since its inception, it has managed to offer various technological services. It also provides crucial IT support to different FE and HE institutions and is an FTTP on demand providers.
Jisc, the FE and other skills Sectors have over the years used the Janet network and edu-roam to provide colleges in England with the internet, Wi-Fi access, a telephonic purchasing system, and a shared data centre.
Jisc has also offered a wide range of support features and advice to its members, including distributing various practice tools and guides. All these have allowed students across various London colleges to make the best use of digital technologies.