United Kingdom

University tuition fees will be frozen at £9,250-a-year maximum for another year

Tuition fees in England are set to be frozen for another year under proposals unveiled by the Government.

And in an interim response, the Government outlined its intention to freeze the maximum amount a university can charge in tuition fees at £9,250 a year to deliver 'better value for students'.

Other proposed changes include consideration of student finance terms and conditions, minimum entry requirements to higher education institutions and the treatment of foundation years.

The Department for Education's interim response includes freezing tuition fees for the year as well as looking at minimum entry requirements 

Westminster plans to consult on further reforms to the system in spring this year before setting out its final conclusion of the Augar report alongside the next comprehensive spending review.

The interim response says: 'This gives reassurance to potential students that incentives are aligned to encourage courses with good job outcomes and reinforces the Government's commitment to safeguarding the UK's high-quality research base.

University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady said she wanted the review decided sooner, not for it to be 'kicked into the long grass'

'We will also move the Teaching Capital fund from a broad formula allocation to a targeted bidding system, allocating capital funding to projects that will support high-quality provision in subjects aligned to the needs of the economy and contribute to the levelling up of disadvantaged areas of the UK.'

Former prime minister Theresa May launched the higher education funding review in February 2018.

In May 2019, the Augar review recommended that graduates should have to repay their student loans over 40 years and the interest rate on loans should be reduced to the level of inflation.

Maintenance grants for disadvantaged students, of at least £3,000 a year, should be reintroduced, they said. 

University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady said it was 'not good enough to kick the issue into the long grass' until the spending review.

She said: 'Sadly this interim response confirms that there will not be a radical change to the current system. The Westminster government is wasting an opportunity to make a real difference for students and institutions.'

The review was commissioned by Theresa May and will be decided later this year, possibly in the spring

Professor Julia Buckingham, president of Universities UK (UUK), said: 'Any reforms must be for the benefit of students, the economy and society and be backed by sufficient funding to ensure that every student receives a high-quality education which best suits their needs and aspirations.

'Enforcing minimum entry requirements for prospective university students would be a regressive move, preventing students from disadvantaged backgrounds whose prior educational experiences have adversely affected their grades from attending university and ignoring the evidence that many of these students excel at university.

'A university degree remains a good choice for many and a growing number of jobs in business and public services require graduate-level skills; the economy and society cannot afford a reduction in the number of graduates.'

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