Today the Universities secretary David Willetts announced his plans for the future of tuition fees to the House of Commons. Following the findings of the Browne review and the Government’s comprehensive spending review, Mr Willetts MP proposed detailed plans to charge fees of up to £9,000 per year, with a Government levy taken on all fees over £6,000 a year.
Under the plans reported today, graduates would commence repayment of their student loans upon earning over £21,000 p/a as opposed to the current level of £15,000 p/a. Interest would be charged on a sliding scale for those earning over this threshold, with the highest earners paying more. No interest would be chargeable to those earning under £15,000 p/a or indeed not earning at all.
Mr Willetts MP also spoke at great length about widening participation in higher education through busaries, scholarships and other methods of funding, asking universities to do more for their students. He also reported that the government proposes to increase the amount offered to students in maintinence loans and detailed a number of proposals to extend Government grants to students from less well-off backgrounds.
Today’s announcements mark a full u-turn from the Liberal Democrat party as part of the coalition Government. All Liberal Democrat MPs signed a pledge during the general election to commit themselves to not raising tuition fees. Today Mr Willetts MP confirmed that his propsals have the full support of the Liberal Democrat leadership, signifying a clear refusal to uphold their pledge. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg sat silently by Mr Willetts’ side in agreement with the Government’s proposals. Labour’s shadow Universities secretary was then invited to respond.
As an organisation SUSU is mandated by its students to campaign against any rise in tuition fees. SUSU will be marching in London on 10/11/0 against these proposals; you can book your place for only £5 at boxoffice.susu.org
I would also strongly encourage to write to your MP if you disagree with these proposals. Details of how to can be found here.