Fees to rise to £9,000

Universities could charge up to £9,000 for tuition fees from 2012 as part of the Government’s response to the Browne Review announced last week.

Fees will rise to £6,000 with an upper limit of £9,000 for universities who can provide support for students from poorer backgrounds, as announced by Universities Minister David Willetts last Wednesday.

He also stated that the repayment threshold for graduates would increase from £15,000 to £21,000 and “will thereafter increase … periodically to reflect earnings”.

These plans fall in line with Lord Browne’s review of higher education funding released last month, which advised lifting the tuition fee cap from the current limit of £3,290 to £6,000 per year.

Sean Ruston, the Student Union’s Education Officer responded, saying that “these extortionate charges will lead to students making choices about their future based on their parental income and not their academic ability. Increasingly poorer students will be priced out of elite institutions like Warwick, which will no longer be able to recruit the best and brightest regardless of income.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) mirrored this argument and said: “It will push all of the costs of higher education onto the shoulders students who already face much of the financial consequence of the economic downturn.”

In recent research conducted by the NUS and HSBC, it was discovered that nearly eight in ten young people would be put off university if fees went up to £10,000, and 70 per cent by a rise to £7,000.

Eoghan Fonda Marsland, a first year engineering student is one student who would be put off going to university if fees are increased to £9,000. “I would not be happy if fees were raised to that level because even if it was all provided by loan, it would take a lot longer to pay off.”

Another first year student, Sam Longden, agreed. “It will only encourage class divisions between students and universities. The top universities will be only for rich people. The best universities will only get better, and the worst will be better off, it will become a vicious cycle.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove played down the research, disagreeing with its conclusion. “I believe that it won’t have that effect. I believe that people will make a rational decision on the benefits that accrue to them as a result of taking a university degree,” he said on the BBC Radio 4 show on Wednesday.

NUS president Aaron Porter said: “The Government has already announced its intentions – wash their hands of responsibility for higher education by removing almost all funding for universities – and it seems they will attempt to continue their vicious attack on those that want a better education by passing all of the cost on to students and asking vice-chancellors to take none of the strain.”


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