St Mary's College students protesting tuition fee rise. Photo : Mark Harrison / Flickr

Proposal for tuition fees to be able to rise in line with inflation

Universities in England will be able to increase tuition fees in line with inflation, if they can prove that they provide a high quality standard of teaching, universities minister Jo Johnson has proposed.

The plans were originally announced in July in Chancellor George Osbourne’s budget speech, and were announced in by Mr Johnson in the same week students protested against tuition fees in London.

The proposals, made by mayor of London Boris Johnson’s brother, also suggest a new Office for Student to guarantee value for money for students.

Further proposals include easier-to-open new universities, targets to recruit more disadvantaged and ethnic minority students and degrees with point scores as well as grades.

However, Mr Johnson’s plans have come under attack from Labour’s shadow universities minister Gordon Marsden, who said the proposals were a “Trojan Horse for raising fees”.

Mr Marsden also expressed concern that this would create a “two-tier system, that could brand some universities as second class, and damage the life chances of students who go to them.”

According to the BBC, National Union of Students (NUS) president Megan Dunn said it was “reassuring to see the government putting access to education at the heart of their proposals”.

But she also added the students’ union was “adamant that the Teaching Excellence Framework should not be linked to an increase in fees”.

Second-year German and Business student Owain Mier said: “It’s horrific! [The] insistence on commodifying education undermines everyone’s basic human right!

“It only serves to benefit the rich and further perpetuate class separation and the status quo. Education is a right not a privilege.”

Ciara Lawrence, a second-year German and History student, added: “I think that if they keep raising tuition fees in the UK they’re going to lose out on students in the long run because people will just go to the countries in Europe where uni is free, like Germany.”

Mr Johnson has been contacted for comment and the Boar is awaiting a reply.


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