Conservative MP, Margot James spoke at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and announced that the current tuition fees may have to rise, with fees of £16,000 being mentioned. She stated that to carry an individual through higher education costs £16,000 in its totality, according to the University of Oxford's estimations. And so it is inevitable that a system running on roughly just 55% of that is not a sustainable option and is "dangerously close" to becoming more expensive than the old system. Another option that was suggested was that graduates pay back their debt over a shorter period of time. She stated that ultimately, "if we want to achieve that goal of maintaining the standard and the ranking of our universities, we're going to have to possibly accept that fees in the future may have to rise."
Ms James proceeded to announce her regret at the government's early decision to bin the post-study work visa for foreign students. However, she said that, 'to a degree, they have been softened." David Willetts, who is the former universities and science minister, revealed in a separate conference that there had been "low-level warfar" between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Home Office regarding foreign students. He opposed the Home Office ministers when they announce that we must attract only the "brightest and the best" foreign students, as Willetts argued that "they don't have to be the brightest and the best, they are people we are educating, and then they go back home."