This past December, the House of Commons voted to allow universities in England to raise undergraduate tuition. Originally, tuition would be increased from the current limit of £3,350, or $5,500. However, when the government put the fee system into place, they announced that £9,000 would be the “absolute limit” and only for a “handful of universities” with most expected to charge closer to £6,000, or $9,450
An article in The Chronicle of Education (“Universities in England Seek to Charge Highest Fees They Can”) reports on the backlash the government has received in the past few months due to this change in regulation.
British students are criticizing their government for allowing universities to exponentially raise their fees. Originally British politicians made it appear as though this plan would only affect a very limited number of schools, but now it looks as though most universities are putting in requests to be part of this limited number.
April 19th was the deadline for institutions to announce their tuition plans. The Office for Fair Access has not publicized how many institutions have put in a request to change their tuition fee, however, an analysis conducted by The Guardian found that almost seventy-five percent of English universities and colleges plan on charging £9,000 for certain courses. Cambridge University and Oxford University are two of these colleges.
The good news about this new policy is that “students at all institutions will pay nothing up front and are required to begin paying back their education loans only once their income has reached a certain level.” Moreover, all institutions planning to charge above £6,000 have created extensive aid packages that the Office for Fair Access will examine.
According to Paul M. Marshall, executive director of the 1994 Group, which represents 19 of Britain’s leading student-focused research-intensive universities, the final system is going to be “much more complex than it first appears—not that much different, actually, than the U.S. system.” Additionally, Marshall believes that “over the next few months, there will be a lot of brokering backward and forward” about this plan.
I guess we will just have to wait and see.
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