Hike in university fees to cost over £1bn
It was announced recently that 47 out of 123 institutions have been given the green light to charge the maximum tuition fees of £9,000 across all courses from the next academic year onwards. The OFFA (office for fair access) announced that they had approved the plans from each of the 47 institutions to widen access to ‘poorer students’.
On top of this, over three quarters of all universities will charge £9,000 for some courses. They attempted to come across as reassuringly expensive, and have instead been show to be disconcertingly elitist.
Vince Cable’s assurances that tuition fees would only rise above £6,000 in exceptional circumstances appear to be just as inconsequential as the Lib Dems’ election pledge to scrap tuition fees altogether.
” That was the report given to the Government. We have rejected those recommendations and proposed instead that we proceed as the statutory instrument describes. That involves the introduction of a fee cap of £6,000, rising to £9,000 in exceptional circumstances.” - Vince Cable, 2010
The justification of the tuition fee rise was to aid the deficit reduction plan, yet due to the fact that the government cover the cost of all tuition fees it is in fact costing the nation more. The first repayments will start in 2015, when the first of the £9,000, 3 year courses finish. It is estimated that the government will have to pay over £1bn extra to cover the hike in tuition fees.
This is no mistake. To offset such a cost, the teaching budget has been cut by 80%, and this leaves a cut to university places extremely likely. Over the past 2 years David Cameron has distanced himself from any suggestion of making universities more elitist due to extremely negative press over the issue, however he has now manufactured a situation where the only obvious option is to do just that.
There have already been 15,000 full time undergraduate places cut for 2012 admission, with more expected to follow in 2013. Competition for places will increase, and with tuition fees already discouraging almost 50,000 applicants this year, a total of nearly 65,000 people have already missed out on a chance of university education.