Nearly all universities in England have officially been given the go-ahead to increase tuition fees to £9,250, beginning in the 2017/18 academic year. But this is old news. The catch? More than 30 universities have this increased price as a minimum fee, and some universities may also force their current students to pay the increase in fees too.
Exeter is one of the universities who has already announced they they will be enforcing the increased tuition price upon their current students. Sussex, Derby, Royal Holloway, and Southampton are among some of the universities that have been given permission to raise the fees to a £9,250 minimum limit. John Pugh, a Liberal Democratic spokesman for education, claimed that these moves are “utterly toothless” and make students become as if they’re simply “cash cows.”
“Time and again, the universities, backed by government, ask for more.”
The Offa (Office for Fair Access) has released a statement detailing the sort of prices students applying for the 2017/18 academic year may be subjected to pay, including details regarding disadvantaged students. Liberal Democrat education spokesman John Pugh said students were being treated as “cash cows” and the access watchdog was “utterly toothless.”
Universities are spending millions and millions of pounds on allowing higher education to be accessed by more people. These include £171m outreach projects and £408m bursaries or fee waivers. But allowing for these costly projects means an increase in tuition fees, the Offa claims.
As long as any particular university may show that they offer high-quality and high-level teaching standards across the board, the government wants to allow them to increase their tuition fees. However, there is a great amount of opposition to this idea. The Labour and Liberal Democrats are strictly opposing the removal of the £9,000 maximum university fee limit, claiming that these acts are completely “outrageous.”
Offa shows that nearly every university has been granted the ability to increase their tuition fees to the £9,250 limit, but more than 35 universities have been given further approval that this £9,250 is actually their minimum limit, opposed to a maximum one. These universities with the £9,250 minimum limit may charge their current students the new price as well, Offa claims.
The direction of Offa, Les Ebdon, has stated that:
“There are already more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds entering higher education than ever before, which shows the impact that previous access agreements have had.
“But there is still a long way to go, and the government has clearly indicated that fair access is a priority, so we must all keep pushing forwards.”