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18th Mar 2019
An additional set of tuition fee increases, which will apply to all universities in England has been signalled, taking tuition fees for students beginning courses in 2018 to over £9,500.
The government has previously stated that higher fees will be linked to the quality of teaching on offer, however plans released this week indicate that this will not be the case and that all universities can apply the same increase for 2018.
This will include those institutions that fall "significantly below benchmark in one or more areas".
According to the Department for Education the fee increases imposed for 2018 will be a part of a second trial year before a system with different levels of fees based on teaching quality comes into force.
A spokeswoman for the government department said: "Universities will not be able to increase fees unless they pass rigorous quality standards. We have always been clear that as the framework develops it will become increasingly robust, with additional criteria, such as university's retention and graduate employment rates, introduced into the judging process."
The teaching excellence framework will be used to assess each university, with each institution being branded a rating of either bronze, silver or gold.
The government has already allowed across the board increases from autumn 2017 taking fees to £9,250, but it has now emerged that regardless of which rating a university receives all universities will receive a full inflationary uplift for courses starting in autumn 2018.
With inflation forecast for 2018-19 at 3.2% this would take fees above £9,500 a year.
After 2018 different fees could be charged depending on how each university is ranked within the teaching excellence framework.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said of the proposed increases: "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."
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