Tuition fees set to rise again under new proposals

The NUS has called it the "latest in a long line of disappointing revelations".

The NUS has called it the “latest in a long line of disappointing revelations”

The government is exploring plans which could hike tuition fees up even further.

Under the proposals, universities would take over control of loans taken out by their own students, allowing them to explore the option of abolishing the current £9,000 cap.

The research was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and although not official policy yet it appeares to have been welcomed by ministers.

Appearing on Newsnight, former Universities Minister David Willetts said: “”Why not give universities that wish it the opportunity of holding the loans belonging to their own graduates?”

He claimed this would create a “direct connection” between the university and the graduate.

But million+, the university think tank, condemned the plans:

“This would create a two-tier university system and would be opposed by the majority of university boards and vice-chancellors. It would deliver preferential funding to some universities and their students and is a recipe for inequality.”

And NUS President Toni Pearce said the government needed to “abandon the discredited regime of sky-high fees and debts altogether”:

“This report is just the latest in a long line of disappointing revelations that have consistently blown apart ministers’ claims that £9,000 fees would save public money, and confirms our long held view that the current system was ideologically driven and costs more than what it replaced.

“NUS has always said that it was dangerous to expand the sector on the basis of increased fees and debt for students.”

Currently, the treasury holds undergraduate debt through the Student Loans Company. However, the variance in rates of repayment – currently around 50 per cent – means that raising tuition fees across the board at present would simply result in more defaulted loans and therefore greater costs to the government. But if debt was transferred to individual universities, they could then judge whether it was likely loans would be repaid if they increased their fees – outsourcing the system.

The potential move follows Vince Cable’s unexpected unilateral announcement earlier this month that the planned privatisation of student debt would no longer go ahead because it was financially untenable.

The risk is that such a move would put universities at risk of potentially losing billions if they mess up their loans system or raise fees too much.

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16 Responses to “Tuition fees set to rise again under new proposals”

  1. itdoesntaddup

    Never mind that the innovation of loans for fees was introduced by the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, and further extended by the Higher Education Act 2004 – the policy of loans is indeed in deep trouble. The idea of allowing academics to fund loans is as flawed as the idea of allowing them to write endless immigration visas: there is no guarantee they would act responsibly unless they were personally at risk, rather than merely their institutions eventually seeking a government bailout. It’s much better to impose budgets from outside, and allow academics to select the best students to fill the places. While we’re about it, that should include requiring other countries to fund the education of their citizens unless the places are covered by scholarships.

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    Well, either fees rise with inflation (RPI), or Universities see cuts to their budgets. Or the government funds HE directly, but they’re against that.

    Something has to give, and it’s going to be – rapidly – what Universities can afford to offer in the way of teaching unless something is done.

  3. Guest

    What a surprise, you’re made that some poorer UK students are managing to evade debt by studying at Universities in the EU.

    And of course you want to start imposing rigid government control of Universities…as you try to slash their budgets further by attacking fee-paying foreign students.

  4. itdoesntaddup

    I should have been clearer. EU students are entitled to education on the same terms as those from the relevant UK country. Their record in repaying student loans is already appalling, and will only get worse, saddling UK taxpayers with the bill. If we return to block grant funding (i.e. no tuition fees paid by students) then it should be on condition that UK taxpayers do not pay for EU students. Those who pay full fees in advance are a different matter.

    I am not in favour of government micromanagement of universities – only of setting an overall budget that taxpayers are asked to fund. That’s why I want universities to select the students themselves. Don’t invent things I didn’t say.

  5. Guest

    Yada yada end free movement. Smash the trade, ensure that we have zero EU students, who we couldn’t afford when we blocked the trade and movement of people anyway.

    And I see, you’d outright ban paying in advance, since it’d upset your little plan to micro-manage budgets in such a way that Universities who didn’t pick the rich for free education would see their budgets fall. Nice.

  6. itdoesntaddup

    EU students should be paid for by their own EU countries. That isn’t zero EU students. Meantime, you are prepared to ignore those who do not get a university place. Nice. I’d like to see funding diverted to support those cheated out of the education they should have had at school, and away from funding foreign students.

    Moreover, I disagree with tuition fees and loans for our own people – which is the substantive point. It disadvantages and discourages the able poor, and encourages those who aren’t really “worth it” to apply in the expectation they will see their loans written off.

    Those overseas students who pay fees may come so long as they are genuinely here to study, and return home in the first instance at the end of their course. Being a student should not be a back door route to immigration – especially not via a sham route. Those immigrants we need because we have a skills shortage should be drawn from all who have the necessary skills, regardless of the country of their alma mater.

  7. sarntcrip


  8. sarntcrip


  9. sarntcrip

    every student who has a vote should use it to stop the wealthy
    stealing the best education for themselves

  10. sarntcrip

    Those raising fees had their uni education free

  11. Guest

    Yada yada UK students should be excluded from studying abroad, and you need to cut down on foreign students.

    Of course you want to make Universities “pay up”, slashing their funding, looting what they get from foreign students and lowering their ability to teach.

    Of course you’re against the loans, no surprise at all! And of course you want to exclude students by setting up “I want but” when the but dominates.

    And of course you think we have too few minimum wage factory workers.

  12. Guest

    “our own people”

    Oh right, your 1%. What a surprise! Missed that first time.

  13. itdoesntaddup

    Yada yada. Anything else you want to invent that I didn’t say?

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    Many did. They voted for a party whose MP’s had signed a legal commitment to oppose the fees.

    Now, many of those people will never bother voting again. Thanks, LibDems!

  15. Guest

    Given I didn’t invent anything, your inability to respond shows you simply don’t have an argument.

  16. itdoesntaddup

    No. It just means your incoherent ramblings and inventions aren’t worthy of a response.

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