British universities will be allowed to charge tuition fees over £9000 from 2017 onwards, under new government proposals announced yesterday.
This comes after a long campaign from Universities UK, which Vice-Chancellor Christopher Snowden previously led as President.
Institutions which are judged to offer high teaching standards will be allowed to increase the amount they charge to match the annual growth of inflation. Fees will rise in line with inflation which is currently 1.6% per year.
This will mean students, who already often have debts of up to £50,000, could be faced with even higher levels of financial hardship.
Tuition fees were increased to £3,000 per year in 2004 by Tony Blair. This was later increased to £9,000 in 2010 under the coalition government, prompting mass protests.
The changes will come into effect at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, meaning those who start university courses next autumn would be affected.
A petition has already been set up by angry students asking the government to drop plans above the £9,000 limit agreed four years ago.
National Union of Students (NUS) vice president Sorana Vieru 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.
Jo Johnson, the Universities Ministers, hailed the move as a ‘reward’ for institutions who offer higher standards of teaching and thus better chances of navigating a tricky graduate job market.