The Government has announced plans for increased tuition fees, which could be in place from as early as 2018.

Following the announcement earlier this year that universities could charge up to £9,250 per year, a new rankings system could enable increases beyond £9,500 from as early as 2018.

The new increases in fees will be linked to a ranking system due to be put in place by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) who will award universities gold, silver or bronze certifications.

These rankings will dictate to what extent each institution will be able to increase tuition fees.

‘A new rankings system could enable increases beyond £9,500’

Awards will be decided by a panel of  TEF assessors, based on a number of statistics including dropout rates, student satisfaction and employment rates. The rankings will last for up to three years.

The bronze, silver and gold system has been decided upon due to objections to the initially planned usage of outstanding, excellent and ‘meets expectations’ ranks.

The Department of Education says that this was due to the lack of distinctions between the first two categories and fears of damages to the reputations of those ranked in the latter category.

‘I struggle to accept that current fees match education standards’

Universities Minister Jo Johnson says the new system will provide a clear framework for driving quality up in the higher education system.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has challenged the decision: “Higher education needs to be funded sustainably but for Government to continue to let fees creep up year on year, so students are unable to get a clear picture of the debt they might face, is unacceptable.”

Third year Environmental Science student Sam King told Impact:

“Although the increases in fees are a further economic barrier to education and I think unreasonable, having a ranking system may help improve standards of teaching.

However I struggle to accept that current fees match education standards.”

Emma Duffey

Image: Matt Buck via Flickr. License available here.

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