Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

British University chiefs call for tuition fee rise

A survey of 12 vice-chancellors by Universities UK reveals that the cost of tuition fees should rise to £7,000 (Dh36,250) a year.

LONDON // University chiefs said that tuition fees need to more than double to up to £7,000 (Dh36,250) a year, a move which unions argue would deter poorer students and leave graduates with massive debts. Universities UK, which represents the heads of high education bodies, commissioned a study to examine the effect of different rises ahead of a review of the fees later this year. Currently universities can charge up to around £3,000 a year in tuition fees, which were brought in despite a large scale revolt by back bench Labour MPs in 2004.

The Universities UK report questioned vice-chancellors from 12 universities who said an average fee of around £6,500 would be needed to secure long-term funding for teaching. It said that raising fees to £5,000 would have little effect on students, but there was evidence that a level of £7,000 "may discourage some from enrolling in higher education". The study also said raising fees to £7,000 would leave average students with a total debt of more than £32,000 by the time they graduated.

The National Union of Students condemned the proposal. "In the context of the current recession, it is extremely arrogant for university vice-chancellors to be fantasising about charging their students even higher fees and plunging them into over £32,000 of debt," said the union president Wes Streeting. "Poorer students would be priced out of the more 'prestigious' institutions, and this must be avoided at all costs."

The University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and academic staff, said any rise in tuition fees would prove very unpopular with the public and would damage plans to ensure universities attracted the brightest students, not just those who could afford it. "Increasing fees and other financial barriers that so many students and parents come up against when considering university is certainly not the way to deliver a world-class university system," said the UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt.

The Higher Education Minister David Lammy said no decision on fees would be taken until the review was concluded. "We absolutely will look at this issue again but after an independent review, independent of government," he said. A survey of 53 vice chancellors by the BBC found they were anticipating increases of between £4,000 and £20,000 per year, with some saying there should be no cap on the fee level.

*Reuters

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National