Wednesday, 25 January 2017

New Year, Old Story – Uni Fees

Government proposals put forward in 2016 will see the maximum (and most likely) amount a university can charge a student for undergraduate tuition rise as of the next academic year, commencing Autumn 2017.

The changes, put forward by Universities minister Joe Johnson (brother of Boris ‘The Rock’ Johnson), will see the cap on tuition fees rise to £9,250 for the 2017-18 academic year, with the possibility of rising further to above £10,000 in the next few years in line with inflation. This move comes after the previous coalition government tripled tuition fees to the current £9,000, a move that provoked widespread protests.

Many of the top universities in the country, such as Oxbridge and those in the Russell group, adopted the £9k figure when it was first passed, and some (such as Durham university) have already signalled they will use the rise. Universities will be able to apply the new fees to current students, meaning the amount students pay could increase whilst attending the university, leading to possible uncertainty about how much debt they will be in when leaving full-time education and could be seen as a sting for those already vested in the institution.

Despite boasting an intention to generate equal opportunities for everyone in her maiden speech, the plans for university fees (as well as other parts of the education system) under Theresa May’s premiership will undoubtedly disincentivise students from underprivileged backgrounds from applying for higher education, despite it being one of the largest factors in social mobility. For current students of a North London comprehensive such as Hampstead, the prospect of leaving the education system with £27,750+ debt (not including maintenance loan debts) might not be an appetising one.

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