As universities begin a new debate over the possibility of increasing tuition fees, Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr John Hood has spoken about the financial problems the University is facing. He has commented that Oxford has a fee gap of £8,000 per student and many of its academics are in favour of increasing fees, although this would be conditional on providing loans and bursaries so that less well-off students would not be deterred.
This report comes as increasing numbers of students are finding university harder to afford. A recent survey by the NUS has shown that half of all applicants feel their choice of university has been affected by the recession. Hood suggested that in the future many universities may be forced to administer their own loan schemes to stay afloat if the government cannot provide more student financial support. There are worries that the American tradition of parents saving for years in order to pay for their children’s university education may become more common in the UK. The government is due to review fees this year, but is proving reluctant to make a decision for fear of alienating thousands of middle-class voters prior to the next general election.