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Tuition Fees Increases Approved by Parliament

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Legislation allowing universities to increase tuition fees has been pushed through parliament ahead of its dissolution in the run up to the general election.

The higher education legislation had been intended to make higher fees dependent on improved teaching. However, this will not come into force until 2020-21 and up until then universities can increase fees in-line with inflation, without a link to teaching quality.

As a result, students will face fees of £9,250 a year at almost all universities. This is on top of sudden increase in interest rates that student loans are subject to, which have increased from 4.6% to 6.1%.

The Higher Education and Research Bill faced a large number of amendments in the House of Lords, but after a number of compromises the legislation was passed prior to Parliament shutting down.

Although a framework to link teaching quality to tuition fees will be introduced, in won't be for at least three years. In the meantime, universities signed up to be part of the plans to measure teaching quality are free to increase fees in line with inflation.

An independent review of the proposed teaching excellence framework will begin in 2018, with the aim to introduce annual increases in line with teaching quality from 2020-21.

Universities have also argued for overseas students to be omitted from migration targets, although so far, this proposal has been rejected.

Universities are hopefully that the status of overseas students could be reconsidered as part of wider reviews of migration during the Brexit negotiations.