UK university tuition fees set for further riseCurrent affairs
University tuition fees are set to rise again next year with the average fee going beyond £8,500 per year.
The universities’ latest plan on increasing university fee levels for 2013/14 was published by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) on Wednesday with all institutions seeking to charge more than £6,000 a year.
According to the official figure, 94 of the 122 English universities plan to charge the maximum of £9,000 a year for at least one undergraduate course while 42 will charge it as a standard rate for all of their courses.
However, under a major overhaul of the system, the university must submit an annual “access agreement” — which has to be signed off by OFFA — before they can charge students more than £6,000 for their courses.
If the university fails to meet targets in their agreement on recruiting and retaining students, they may have to pay a hefty fine or lose their right to charge more than £6,000.
The rise in figures was met with criticism as Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, said: “When pushing higher fees through Parliament, ministers promised that fees above £6,000 would be the exception rather than rule. Today’s figures confirm our more accurate prediction that fees closer to £9,000 a year would, in fact, be the norm.
“There’s little pleasure in being right, especially as we saw a drop in student applications of almost 10% this year following the massive hike in fees. Decisions about what and where to study at university should be made based on an individual’s academic ability, not how much a course costs.”