In light of comments made by high-level university stakeholders about the possible increase in tuition fees to £16,000, all eyes are on the Government as to how it will respond.
Recently, Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, revealed that elite universities should be able to charge £16,000. In order to justify his position, he pointed out that this is the amount in real terms that it costs to educate a student per year.
When challenged on this issue, Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, denied any allegations that the current Coalition government would lift the cap on tuition fees again. He said, “Don’t worry, we’re not going to raise tuition fees to £16,000.”
Speaking in Central London last Monday, Clegg also leapt to his own defence at what he called the ‘polemic’ attacks on the current £9000 limit, introduced in 2011.
The Lib Dem leader similarly implored potential university applicants to consider “the reality of the system rather than some of the allegations that were thrown at it because there’s quite a big gap between the two”.
Clegg added: “Most estimates suggest the government will be writing off the debt of many graduates. It’s ironic the ticket price has gone up, but actually what you have to pay out every month and every week has gone down.”
Responding to this issue, Dasha Karzunina, the University of Nottingham’s Students’ Union (UoN’s SU) Education Officer stated that the SU “believes that the biggest barrier to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds from attending University is that of cost and/or perception of cost.We believe that the majority of our members are opposed to paying more for their education”.
The proposal of raising tuition fees was also met with hostility by UoN students.
One student interviewed commented on how the expansion of a market in higher education was “almost beyond comprehension’ and anyone endorsing the notion of raising fees to an even higher threshold would result in a ‘further strain [of] relations between students and university management”.
Whatever is decided, it is clear that if the Government decides to introduce another tuition fee hike, this will likely be met with objections from the whole student body.
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