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

8,679.20: the average price universities plan to charge in tuition fees

J. Shepherd and J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Apr. 19th 2011, p. 13

Almost three quarters of universities have announced their intention to charge the maximum 9,000, at least for some of their degree courses, from 2012. Many universities say the loss of funding for teaching is the main reason for charging the maximum allowed. (See also The Times, Apr. 20th 2011, p. 3)

3,000 extra fees for middle class

R. Prince and G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 27th 2011, p. 12

Under rules designed to help poorer youngsters into higher education, universities that wish to raise their undergraduate tuition fees to the maximum 9,000 per year in 2012 must put up to 35% towards waiving costs for those from low income families. With almost all universities intending to charge the maximum fee, middle-class students will be required to pay an extra 2,700-3,150 to subsidise their peers. They will therefore be forced to take out higher student loans, which they will have to repay even if they are earning less than successful graduates originally from a poor background who have gone on to enjoy a lucrative career.

Alarm as student loans are doubled for private sector

R. Garner

The Independent, Apr. 14th 2011, p. 18

David Willets, the universities minister, has said that loans to help people studying in the private sector will be doubled. The announcement has angered vice-chancellors of public universities, who say that it will help private institutions keep their fees low. The minister said he wanted to encourage a more dynamic higher education sector and move towards a more liberal system.

All universities exceed 6,000

The Independent, Apr. 26th 2011, p. 20

The Office for Fair Access has revealed that all English universities but one are seeking permission to charge pupils tuition fees in excess of 6,000 per year. Two thirds will be charging the maximum 9,000, although bursaries for students from poorer households will be available.

(See also The Guardian, Apr. 21st 2011, p. 18)

Cable warns universities planning 9,000 tuition fees

A. Porter and G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 6th 2011, p.1 + 2

The coalition government's policy on tuition fees is reported to be in disarray as a series of non-elite universities have announced that they intend to charge the maximum 9,000 per year. The business secretary, Vince Cable, is to warn them that they will see funding withdrawn if prospective students decide that they do not offer value for money and numbers of applicants fall, leaving them will unfilled places.

Fall in number of state school students at top universities

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 1st 2011, p. 4

Official figures show that most elite universities increased their percentage of privately educated students in 2010, despite government steps to widen access. Almost a third of all universities are still falling short of government targets for recruitment of students from state schools. More than half also failed to meet targets for boosting the number of students from the poorest families. The figures are likely to put leading universities under pressure to create a more balanced student body.

Fees plan set to fail as weakest universities charge 9,000

O. Wright, L. Smith and J. Dyke

The Independent, Apr. 1st 2011, p. 2

The number of universities planning to charge students the maximum fee of 9,000 per year is rising; even universities that fare poorly in league tables plan to charge far more than the expected average of 6,000 per year for their courses. Universities that perform poorly in league tables fear that charging lower fees might give prospective students the wrong impression and keep them away from their courses. According to the article, every single university in England and Wales plans to charge more than 6,000. This could end up costing the government 1bn more than budgeted, as it will have to provide the fees to the universities upfront through students loans, long before students repay them. The article also reports that figure show that almost a third of universities are admitting fewer pupils from state schools than they should be, according to targets.

(See also The Guardian, Apr. 1st 2011, p. 9)

Former polytechnic joins the 9,000-a-year tuition fees club

J. Vasagar and J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Apr. 6th 2011, p. 9

The University of Central Lancashire, one of Britain's biggest teaching-oriented universities, has announced plans to charge the maximum 9,000 a year tuition fees, prompting accusations that the government's strategy on fees has collapsed as institutions race to charge the maximum.

(See also The Guardian, Apr. 6th 2011, p. 9)

Graduates face 'stealth rise' in student loan repayments

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 12th 2011, p. 8

Currently, rises in benefits, pensions, tax thresholds and tax credits are linked to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which is consistently lower than the Retail Prices Index (RPI). However, interest rates on student loans are still linked to the higher RPI. Graduates with average salaries who left university with 10,000 of debt will ultimately repay about 12,638. If interest rates on loans were linked to the lower CPI, repayments would total 11,725 - 913.00 less.

Milburn: fees will entrench class divide

A Grice

The Independent, Apr. 4th 2011, p. 15

Alan Milburn, the Government's social mobility watchdog, has warned that the hike in university tuition fees might broaden the class divide. He said that bright pupils from poorer backgrounds might be discouraged from attending university courses for fear of the debt they would face. According to Mr Millburn, more must be done to inform potential university students and their families of how the system will work: that they will not have to pay any money upfront and will not have to begin repaying until they are earning at least 21,000 p.a. Unfortunately, the suggestion of running high-profile media campaigns runs against cuts to public spending.

Oxford's record on black students 'disgraceful', says Cameron

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Apr. 12th 2011, p. 9

David Cameron has raised hackles at Oxford University with a comment about its number of black students. Speaking at a PM Direct event in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, the prime minister said it was disgraceful that only one black person went to Oxford last year. But Oxford University accused the PM of using inaccurate and highly misleading figures, pointing out that one black Afro-Caribbean student was admitted for undergraduate study out of a total of 27 black students in last year's intake.

(See also The Guardian, Apr. 13th 2011, p. 10-11; The Times, Apr. 12th 2011, p. 7; Daily Telegraph, Apr. 13th 2011, p. 4 +Daily Telegraph, Apr. 12th 2011, p. 1 and the Independent, Apr. 13th. p. 2)

Rapid rise in university applications slows amid fears about degree costs

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Apr. 27th 2011, p. 8

Figures published by the University and College Admission Service reveal that the rapid increase in the number of young people applying to university over the past five years is tailing off, with an increase of only 2.1% on 2010. This is in contrast with a rise of 8.3% registered between 2007 and 2008, 8.8% between 2008 and 2009 and 15.3% the following year. The figures come as research reveals that half of today's undergraduates would not have gone to university if they had been forced to pay 9,000 tuition fees.

(See also The Times, Apr. 26th 2011, p. 5)

Regulating financial sustainability in higher education

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2011 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/11; HC 816)

This report examines the Higher Education Funding Council's regulation of the financial sustainability of higher education institutions in England, which includes its duties to monitor their financial health and risk. It considers whether the Funding Council's approach to assessing and responding to risks affecting the sustainability of institutions is risk-based, efficient and effective in protecting taxpayers' interests. It concludes that the Funding Council has overseen the financial sustainability of the higher education sector through a period of growth in income and student numbers. At a direct cost of around 2m per year, it has contained the cost of its own regulatory activities and sought to limit the burdens it places on the sector, focusing on those institutions at highest risk. Within the context in which it has been operating, the Funding Council has delivered value for money.

Students urged to take private option

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 14th 2011, p. 2

More teenagers will be encouraged to take degrees at private universities under changes to the student loans system. Undergraduates will be able to borrow 6,000 a year - double the existing sum - to cover the cost of studying at independent institutions. The move is being seen as an attempt to introduce more competition into higher education and to reward private providers who are more likely to offer cut-price courses. It is believed that many will charge less than the 9,000 a year tuition fees being planned by growing numbers of state-funded institutions from 2012.

Top universities failing to hit state pupils targets

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Apr. 4th 2011, p. 19

Eight of the 18 universities that have announced plans to charge 9,000 annual tuition fees are admitting too few applicants from state schools, figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency have revealed.

Universities face threat of private takeover

G. Hurst

The Times, Apr. 25th 2011, p. 1

Private companies are set to run failing universities as the government abandons direct help for colleges in financial trouble. Unprofitable courses will have to be scrapped and running costs drastically cut back under the plan which will prompt vice-chancellors to pay private providers to take control of the day-to-day running of the college under contracts lasting ten years or more.

Universities pursue foreign students

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 15th 2011, p. 2

In order to boost their incomes following cuts in government funding, some leading universities aim to almost double the number of undergraduates recruited from outside the European Union. The government currently controls the number of students universities can recruit from Britain and the EU, and tuition fees are capped, but institutions can admit unlimited numbers of foreign students and charge as much as the market will bear.

Universities set to cut thousands of places as fees continue to soar

R. Garner and others

The Independent, Apr. 20th 2011, p. 2

More than 30,000 students could be left out of university. As more universities than planned will charge the maximum, or near the maximum fee, the Government is likely to run out of money to pay out in loans to students. This is likely to result, by 2014/15, in a 450m shortfall which will lead the Coalition to axe university places.

Universities to escape challenge over high fees

J. Dyke and O. Wright

The Independent, Apr. 28th 2011, p. 22

The Office for Fair Access (Offa) does not plan to stop any university from charging the fees they have applied for. This will result in the Government running a 1bn deficit.

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