There is plenty of debate occurring on this blog already about the raising of the cap on tuition fees, so I won’t repeat what has already been said. Instead here is a statement from Vice-Chancellor Donald Nutbeam about the issue.
The University of Southampton has not actively promoted an increase in student fees. However, along with other leading universities in the UK, we recognise the dilemma now facing the government in enabling Universities to secure the level of investment that is needed to maintain quality and accessible education, and world leading research.
Under current arrangements the lion’s share of the funding for Universities comes from the taxpayer in the form of public funding. Students also make a “private” contribution that can be deferred by taking a loan, repayable if and when a graduate’s income exceeds a defined level. These loans are at preferential rates and are, in effect, subsidised.
The Government has to decide whether and how to change the balance between public and private contributions to higher education. The Russell Group of leading research universities has taken a pragmatic view that the only viable option for supporting sufficient funding for a world class higher education system is to increase the “private” contribution made through graduate tuition fees. Taxpayers will still foot the majority costs, but graduates would contribute more in recognition of the substantial personal benefits that they secure through attending university. As a member of the Russell Group the University supports this direction.