How is the residence charge decided?
The “residence charge” is agreed as part of a wider set of “fees and charges”, which is passed by College Council. New residence charges are proposed for following cohorts in this paper, usually by the Bursar, to College Council.
There are 18 members (trustees) of College Council who can accept or reject these charges. The JCR President, Vice-President and Treasurer are three of these trustees; the MCR President and Vice-President complete the set of the five “student trustees”.
As a result, all the student trustees can oppose the changes, but if 9 or more other trustees support the fees and charges, it will be passed. No JCR or MCR agreement is required, and as trustees, the JCR and MCR members are required to vote in favour of the long term interests of College.
What do I do if I cannot afford my College Bill?
If you are having concern about finances, speak to your tutor immediately. Even if they may not have the answer immediately, they will know who best to ask internally.
On top of bursaries, Girton College has substantial hardship funds, which can be used to assist a student in times of financial hardship. If any further advice is required, contact a member of the JCR Committee.
Why are rents so much higher than at other colleges?
The high rent situation at Girton can be explained by three key factors. The first is a matter of definition; the second the fundamental issue of college inequality, which leads to the final issue, namely how the college uses donations in their investment strategy.
Firstly, Girton charges one unitary residence charge, with an inbuilt KFC. When comparing “rents”, it is important to include a college’s KFC in the annual cost. The college KFC for those matriculating in 2017 is £23.65, meaning the weekly rent is £23.65.
Secondly, Girton College has one of the smallest endowments of any college: given that Girton is one of the larger colleges, this results in a very low amount of assets per student. These assets are held in order to provide an investment return each year. This return is split: some is returned back to the investment portfolio to grow it, but the rest is brought into Girton’s operational income.
Rent forms a substantial part of Girton’s gross income. All colleges tend to make a nominal loss in their financial records, since their accountants are required to note depreciation, an estimate of the falling value of their assets (like land). However, it is more useful to use measures of cash flow. In this case, the question is: how much money does Girton’s core functions bring in (teaching, rent, conferencing, catering), and how much money does Girton spend on these core functions. The majority of colleges make a loss by this calculation.