Tuition Fees Could Soon Rise Above £9,000

From the 2017/18 academic year, universities in England can increase their tuition above £9,000 if the quality of their teaching is deemed good enough by the government. 

The plans were announced by Universities Minister in the Higher Education White Paper called Success as a Knowledge Economy.

The paper aims to make Higher Education more competitive and could see hundreds of new, small universities opening. It outlines plans for a Teaching Excellence Framework which will provide prospective students information on an institution’s quality of teaching before they apply.

It follows research which suggests students are often dissatisfied with the number of contact hours they receive.

Under proposed plans, new institutions will find it easier to gain university status and could award degrees from day one, regardless of the number of students in attendance. 1,000 students is currently the minimum requirement.

The White Paper states that some of these new universities may fail and that the government will not intervene if that were to happen. It is not yet clear what will happen to students if their institution closes.

It is, however, suggested that a new watchdog be created, the Office for Students, to regulate institutions and to ensure that a “high quality” experience is available for students from all backgrounds.

Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said: “Our universities are engines of economic growth and social mobility, but if we are to remain competitive and ensure that a high-quality education remains open to all, we cannot stand still.”

However, Sorana Vieru, VP for Higher Education at NUS, said: “Students will understandably be outraged at any suggestion universities could be allowed to put fees up even higher in order to improve teaching quality.

“It was only four years ago tuition fees were trebled and students now face debts up to £53,000 when they graduate.

“Universities, students and staff have all been very clear the proposed teaching excellence framework should not be linked to any rise in fees…

“The government should urgently reflect on this and drop this muddled proposal.”