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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2011): Education - UK - higher

9,000 fee could be the norm, students warned

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Feb. 7th 2011, p. 6

Universities are poised to charge students the maximum fee of 9,000 a year, according to Michael Arthur, the chairman of the Russell Group of elite institutions. Arthur's comments came as Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader who advises the government on fair access, said he wanted the majority of universities to stick to the minimum of 6,000 a year.

(See also: The Guardian, Feb. 21st 2011, p. 10)

9,000 tuition fees 'will be the exception'

C. Hope

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 21st 2011, p. 10

David Willetts, the higher education minister, has emphasised that universities should only charge the maximum 9,000 per year tuition fees in exceptional circumstances, and not simply to establish prestige. Universities will only be permitted to charge the maximum if they are opening up access to applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds. David Willetts warned that students might choose to apply for cheaper degree courses offered by other providers such as further education colleges.

27,000 for a degree at Cambridge

T. Ross and N. Collins

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 9th 2011, p.1 +2

The University of Cambridge has announced its intention to charge the new maximum tuition fee of 9,000 per year for all its undergraduate courses. Students from poorer households will receive an annual discount of up to 3,000, while undergraduates whose family income exceeds 42,000 will be charged the maximum. It is predicted that most institutions will follow suit in order to demonstrate their commitment to academic excellence. However, lecturers and students have warned that some families will no longer consider a university education to be worth the money.

(See also Independent, Feb. 9th 2011, p. 17)

British students must get fairer crack at jobs, says minister

T. Whitehead

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 2nd 2011, p. 10

There are concerns that high graduate unemployment levels may deter young people from going to university, especially when confronted with tuition fees of up to 9,000 a year. Graduate unemployment is at its highest for 17 years, with one in five seeking work two years after leaving university. The coalition government is proposing to reduce competition for jobs from foreign graduates by closing down the Post Study Work Route. This scheme allows foreign graduates to stay on in Britain to look for work. The proposals face opposition from universities, which fear that restrictions would cut recruitment of overseas students.

Control fees or we cut funding, universities told

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 18th 2011, p. 8

David Willetts, the universities minister, has warned that government will be forced to cut university funding to cover the increased cost of student loans if institutions impose 9,000 tuition fees across the board. Student leaders have warned that institutions will attempt to impose the highest possible fees.

Higher education supply and demand to 2020

R. Coleman and B. Bekhradnia

The Higher Education Policy Institute, 2011

This is the sixth report on demand for higher education that HEPI has published, updated each year in the light of the most recent information. The previous report considered the extent of latent demand from under-represented groups - particularly males and disadvantaged social groups, as well as regional variations. It also showed that there were significant numbers of pupils with very good GCSEs who did not progress with their education. This year's report builds on these findings, and considers the extent of likely unmet demand in the future, in passing also shedding light on the previous educational profile of students entering higher education - in particular that more than one third of entrants have no UCAS tariff points.

Law could stop universities all charging 9,000 fees

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Feb. 11th 2011, p. 21

Universities in England could face a change in the law to stop some of them from charging students 9,000 a year, if too many institutions are 'clustering their charges at the upper end'. Ministers say the maximum fee should only apply in 'exceptional circumstances' and universities do not need to treble their fees to offset funding cuts.

Legal challenge launched over tuition fees

R. Garner

The Independent, Feb. 24th 2011, p. 22

The legal firm Public Interest Lawyers is preparing an action against the Government over its plans to raise tuition fees to up to 9,000 a year. They are planning to seek a judicial review of the plans claiming the rise in fees contravenes human rights law because it could discriminate against poorer pupils. Concurrently, Gareth Thomas, Labour's shadow universities spokesman, has requested that the university minister spell out details of any further plans to cut university budgets in case too many universities opt to charge the maximum fee of 9,000.

(See also The Guardian, Feb. 24th 2011, p. 19)

Memo from student leaders: don't fight rise in tuition fees

G. Hurst

The Times, Feb. 17th 2011, p. 3

Student leaders have privately advised their full-time campus representatives not to campaign against moves by some universities to charge the maximum tuition fee of 9,000 in case this backfires. They should hold talks with their universities instead.

More students opt to study abroad and save 20,000

R. Garner

The Independent, Feb. 16th 2011, p. 21

Figures show that 22,000 UK youngsters are opting to go to university abroad to save money. The percentage of UK students enrolling at foreign universities now stands 1.7 per cent, higher than China and India.

Official 'soft A-levels damage chance of top university place'

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Feb. 4th 2011, p. 1

Russell Group universities will issue guidance that officially acknowledges that they favour students who study traditional subjects at A-level, revealing an overwhelming preference for science and maths even for seemingly unrelated degrees. In June David Willetts, the university minister, called for greater transparency from universities regarding their admission policies and yesterday welcomed the step towards levelling the playing field for prospective students. In spite of the fact that only 7.2% of pupils in England attend private schools, they make up more than a quarter of the intake at the more prestigious universities. It is thought that this is due in part to state school pupils not receiving proper guidance about what it takes to get into an elite university.

(See also The Guardian, Feb. 4th 2011, p. 19)

Oxford and Cambridge set to charge top tuition fees

G. Hurst

The Times, Feb. 9th 2011, p. 12

Both Oxford and Cambridge universities are proposing to charge the maximum tuition fee of 9,000 a year reduced to 6,000 for low-income students. If a large number of universities do the same it will push up the cost to the Treasury of student loan subsidies.

(See also The Guardian, Feb. 9th 2011, p. 11)

Pay and perks bonanza for heads of top universities

G. Paton and T. Rowley

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 31st 2011, p. 10

An analysis of university accounts for the academic year 2009/10 shows that university vice-chancellors are having their pay enhanced by generous perks such as rent free accommodation, bonuses, cars and international flights. Almost two thirds of universities awarded benefits to vice-chancellors in 2009/10, some worth almost 40,000 each.

Students from poor families to get help with their tuition fees

A. Grice and R. Garner

The Independent, Feb. 10th 2011, p. 18

The Government has announced that universities in England that want to charge more than 6,000 a year will have to fund a national scholarship programme for students from poorer families. The Government will contribute 3,000 toward their annual fees; university will contribute a further 3,000 leaving the student to pay an amount of up to 3,000, once their income has reached 21, 000. This could mean that students from disadvantaged backgrounds could end up paying less than the current 3,290 a year flat-rate fee. The new subsidies to students from poorer backgrounds could take the form of: a 'free' foundation year, cheap accommodation, a 1,000 a year bursary, a fee waiver or discount, or a combination of these. Universities will have to reach a deal with the Office of Fair Access to attract a wider mix of students. In practice, this will mean accepting students with lower A-levels.

(See also The Guardian, Feb. 10th 2011, p. 11)

Top universities take 1% of poor

R. Garner

The Independent, Feb. 21st 2011, p. 19

A recent study reveals that only one pupil in every 100 on free school meals makes it into one of the Russell Group elite universities. Pupils from better off families are seven times more likely to study at one of the 20 top universities in the UK.

Universities attack 'hostile' curbs on foreign students

A. Travis

The Guardian, Feb. 2nd 2011, p. 10

The government's proposals to curb the number of overseas students have been described by vice-chancellors as a hostile act against British universities. MPs have warned that changes to the student immigration system would 'savagely cut' recruitment, lose at least 1bn in fees, and jeopardise the future of 'stem' subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) in particular.

Universities told to prove value for money

G. Hurst

The Times, Feb. 14th 2011, p. 3

Universities will be forced to publish exactly how many hours students will spend in lectures, seminars and in contact with teaching staff in 2012 to justify charging students much higher fees. This will make it easier for students choosing a degree to compare universities and see which offers the best value for money. Starting in 2012 a condition of state funding will be that universities have to publish a 'key information set' on their websites featuring such things as contact hours, proportions of graduates in well paid or lower paid jobs, further study or who are unemployed six months after completing the course, weekly rent for living in halls of residence and the size of available bursaries.

University applications soar to beat fee rise

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Feb. 1st 2011, p. 15

Nearly 600,000 university hopefuls, an all time record, applied for a place on a degree course in 2011. Applications have risen by 5.1% compared to 2010, with 583,501 chasing a place. The surge has been caused by the likelihood that that fees will almost triple at some universities from 2012.

University elite forced to take fixed quotas of state pupils

T. Ross

Daily Telegraph, Feb. 11th 2011, p. 1 + 2

Every university that wants to charge more than the basic tuition fee of 6,000 will be required to sign an agreement with the Office of Fair Access detailing how they will provide more opportunities to working class applicants. Universities will be judged on how successful they are in ensuring that more applicants from deprived backgrounds are given places. Some students would be offered places on the basis of lower examination grades than would normally apply. Universities should also waive a proportion of the fees for the poorest students. Any university that failed to do enough to meet its targets could be stripped of its right to charge tuition fees above the basic rate of 6,000. Serious breaches of an agreement could see universities fined up to 500,000.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Feb. 10th 2011, p. 6; Daily Telegraph, Feb. 8th 2011, p.1; Times, Feb. 8th 2011, p. 1; Guardian, Feb. 8th 2011, p. 6)

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