Thursday, April 14, 2011

Newcastle looks likely to charge £9,000 per year from 2012

. . . according to this recent press release.

Readers may be aware that there has been a cap on fees in the UK currently set at about £3,200 per year. The current government decided to treble the cap to £9,000 in the hopes of opening a new competitive market for university degrees. In order to avoid charges that this move would greatly reduce student numbers from less affluent backgrounds, the government decided to only charge students after they graduated: they have nothing to pay up front and only pay post-graduation once they earn above £21,000.

As students don't have to pay up front and have a long time period to pay the fees back, many universities seem to have gone for charging the full amount. This is unsurprising. If income streams could be raised to cover costs and perhaps also permit some expansion, then why not? But so much for the government's insistence that fees well above £7,500 would be very rare: £9,000 seems to be the norm.

It will be interesting to see what the government does. Will student numbers be cut further? Already there is the problem that the higher fees largely plug holes in the 80% cut to the teaching grant yet students may rightly expect more in light of paying three times as much as the current cohort. We clearly need better policy making in higher education and fast.

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