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University fees set to rise again

This month sees yet another proposed increase in university tuition fees as education officials say the current cost isn’t enough. Sir Howard Newby of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) claims that the amount of money received by British universities is “not a sustainable settlement”. From the beginning of the 2006/2007 academic year universities will be able to charge up to £3,000-a-year for tuition, almost double the cost of fees in 2004. However it does not stop there: the proposal states that by 2010 the cost of university tuition could be £5,000 annually.

Although the increase seems daunting, students have been told not to worry. “An increase in fees cannot be passed without a vote in the Houses of Parliament,” were the words of the Minister for Education, who also emphasised that the government still wants over 50% of school-leavers to go to University. Grants and bursaries for lower-income families would also increase proportionally to aid financially with the cost of higher education.

The minister strongly believes that higher education should be accessible to all, regardless of the student’s background and this aim will remain with any change in fee cost. However, many believe that the rise will deter students with ‘middle-of-the-road’ financial backgrounds, or force them to look elsewhere.

Tom Reid

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