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Nottingham University Announces £9,000 Tuition Fees

The University of Nottingham has announced that from 2012 it plans to charge the maximum rate of tuition fees possible. Current students and those joining the University this year will be unaffected by the change, but full-time undergraduate students starting from 2012 will pay £9,000 each year for their degree. As before, students will not be obliged to pay their fees upfront, instead paying them back in instalments of 9% of any income that is above £21,000 a year.

Around 30 Universities have announced their tuition fee plans, with Nottingham joining nine other Russell Group Universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and UCL, in announcing maximum fees. All of the ten 1994 Group universities who have announced their proposals, 100% have also opted for £9,000 fees. On top of this, other Universities outside of these groups, including former polytechnics such as Oxford Brookes, have announced that students may have to pay maximum fees.

[pullquote]”I am confident that under the new arrangements we will continue to attract students of the highest calibre, whatever their background”
Professor David Greenaway

The University officially released a statement on its website, which said that the changes have been made in response to the Browne Review as well as recent education cuts. The statement asserted that the decision had been made “after several months of detailed investigation”. The University claims that charging full tuition fees is necessary to “allow the University to invest further in a world-class student experience that has made Nottingham one of the most popular universities in the UK”.

The announcement comes amid a furore over the number of institutions who are planning on charging maximum fees. Business Secretary Vince Cable has made it clear that Universities that insist on charging maximum fees may see student numbers cut.

“Under the new principle whereby funding follows student choices, some institutions could very well find themselves in trouble if students can’t see value” he said, “That trouble would only intensify as those institutions who prove themselves capable of attracting students and keen to expand their provision are given opportunities to do so.”

Labour, meanwhile, have called for the reforms to be halted until it becomes clear what the consequences of top level fees being charged will be. It has also been proposed that the Office For Fair Access, which regulates fee levels, should be given more powers to prevent universities from charging fees that are seen as excessive.

The University has also made moves to reassure prospective students that increased aid and bursaries will be available to students from lower-income families, as well as extending its work with the community through a new initiative called the ‘Nottingham Potential programme’, designed to work with primary and lower-secondary school pupils.

The University has also promised an additional £4 million to support new entrants in 2012 on top of the £6 million currently spent by the University on student financial support. The increased fees will also lead to the introduction of fee waivers “in some cases”.

Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway stated: “I am confident that under the new arrangements we will continue to attract students of the highest calibre, whatever their background”.

The move is likely to prove unpopular amongst the majority of current students, many of whom took part in or supported the tuition fees protests back in November, as well as the subsequent occupation of the Great Hall. Although no current students will be affected by the changes in fees, questions will no doubt still be raised as to the fairness of £9,000 fees being levied for all undergraduate students regardless of the degree taken, particularly considering the lack of teaching hours currently involved in many Arts courses and the sentiment of many that their courses are used to subsidise other degrees that are more expensive to run.

The new fee levels are subject to agreement by the Office For Fair Access, who will confirm in July if they approve of the changes.

Fiona Crosby and Ben McCabe

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26 Comments on this post.
  • Annie
    7 April 2011 at 13:21
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    Sub-headlines needed: “Average monthly student loan repayments slashed for most graduates” and “Massive increase in bursary funds for poorer students”

    • Stephen
      12 April 2011 at 13:23
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      Sub sub Headlines needed: “Average monthly student loan repayments slashed for most graduates”, but wait the fees are tripled and so the monthly repayments last for much much longer (add, sticking with RPI for interest rates on loans and your talking thousands more than the original dept)

      It’s stupid to say that its ok because you pay back less per month, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want 9% of my salary taken for up to 30 years

  • JD
    7 April 2011 at 13:23
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    In my opinion we dont get good value for money as it is

  • H
    7 April 2011 at 15:19
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    Very sad news. It was inevitable, I suppose, but it’s disappointing to see this confirmed by my old university (’09 grad).

    Annie, may I put forward a few other sub-headings to add to your generous suggestions: ‘education no longer considered a public good’, ‘crisis imminent for humanities as govt hands future of funding over to spotty 17 year olds, who don’t know how to wash their own clothes, let alone be ‘rational consumers’ in an education market’ and ‘Nottingham confirms reputation for snobbery by closing doors to non-public school kids’. Incidentally, the best reporting I’ve read on the different problems being caused by the university reforms has been in the LRB, like this article: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n21/stefan-collini/brownes-gamble

    I went to a conference at a leading university last year where we were discussing the future of my field, postcolonial studies. The distinguished head of a top university department said that the best we can hope for is that it will survive the next five years. Bleak stuff. Along with many of my academic friends, when I finish my PhD I’m inclined to take my education and skills abroad.

    • AW
      7 April 2011 at 22:56
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      On the one hand, its annoying to the students who will be going to the uni and true, many degrees will disappear. However, it does help to weed out the crap that the uni offers.
      There are courses that UoN runs that leave graduates with no more employment prospects than when they left school, degrees that are effectively hobbies, and in earlier times would be treated as such. Its an archaic way to look at universities, but at the end of the day they are for higher education, and a more in depth analysis of the bible or how cinema works doesn’t really cut it. The fee rise will maintain the degrees that are actually important, that give people better employment prospects and stops students wasting government money by taking a degree that wastes 3 years of their life and doesn’t improve their employability in any way.
      And the uni has a right to be snobbish, all unis should. A higher education is a privilege, not a right. It should be reserved for people who are good in their fields, and only in fields where a uni level education is necessary. If they give bursaries to lower income families then they’re not discriminating against them, they’re discriminating against the people who go to uni to fuck about for 3 years. People that are going to take their education and use it to get ahead in life, subsidised or not, will pay the fees. People who are gonna go to uni, do no work and party all the time, may give it a second thought, and is that so bad?

      • Phil Whitehead
        8 April 2011 at 14:49
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        AW, while I agree with you that some courses offered by some universities are not academically rigorous, I do not think this is the case for any courses currently offered by Nottingham, and still less for Theology or Film Studies. Arts and Humanities graduates are sought after by discerning employers because students who do well in such degrees have developed critical reasoning skills, become more literate, and have demonstrated flair and originality in their thinking. They know how to solve problems and communicate their solutions with clarity, orally and through the written word. Perhaps this is why they form the backbone of institutions like the British Civil Service.
        You might think that all a Film Studies student does is watch DVDs, but if they are aiming for that magic 2:1, they will undoubtedly spend much of their time in Hallward engaging with literary, philosophical and critical theorists who represent some of the contemporary world’s most important thinking. Cinema, no less than theatre or literature, is an art form and germane to serious, university-level study. They may even pick up a modern language during the course of their degree.
        Meanwhile, the Theology student will also be spending a large part of her time engaging with equally profound and seminal thinkers. An in-depth analysis of the Bible is something that is really a sine qua non for cultural literacy in the European world. Paul, for example, is as important a figure as Plato or Cicero for understanding the history of Western thought and the shape of the last twenty centuries. But our intrepid theologian won’t stop there, but will no doubt also read and confront such trifling, minor figures as Augustine and Aquinas, Kierkegaard and Kant, Luther and Lessing, Mohammed and Maimonedes. Chances are she’ll come out the other side able to identify and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and put forward her own views with persuasiveness, critical acumen and sensitivity. Clearly unemployable, right?
        And might we not be allowed to hope that these two students, at the end of their degree, might be able to look back and see how their studies have enriched not just their economic competitiveness, but also their soul? Might this not be, in the long run, a more personally rewarding experience for them than almost any other use of £27,000? I hope so.

        But then, since I’m only doing an MA in Biblical Interpretation, clearly I’m stupid.

        • VanessaBrown
          8 April 2011 at 16:00
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          @ Phil: Brilliant response! I salute you 🙂

  • Rob
    7 April 2011 at 15:44
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    What have the current Exec done to fight this? Oh yeah, NOTHING.

    • Ed Rooney
      8 April 2011 at 09:34
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      Pretty sure the Exec are powerless considering you have institutions like Aston charging £9k. Out of curiosity Rob, did you go on the Demo?

      • Rob
        8 April 2011 at 17:16
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        I did indeed go on the demo and put in alot of time to help build for it, and the subsequent actions culminating in an occupation. Im an ex-notts student (grad 10), now Im at Leeds Uni, so Im active there, we had bare support from our Exec. They could of taken a lead, but poorly trailed the independent student movment. From what I hear, Notts Exec were even worse.

        • Rob
          8 April 2011 at 17:18
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          Just to clarify, my bitch was the fact the Exec have done next to nothing to even mobilse resistance to this assualt on the Uni. They have great reach and so much to complement the hardend campaigners but failed to do so.

  • @Rob
    7 April 2011 at 18:30
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    Vickers put up a good fight. Anyone in London on November 10 can tell you that. Some of the others though…

  • anon
    8 April 2011 at 08:49
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    well it’s a truly wonderful photo of the trent building, so i guess something positive can be taken from the content of this article 🙂

  • Jack
    8 April 2011 at 11:18
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    I hate social mobility and love the Conservative Party

  • Alex
    8 April 2011 at 12:19
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    Subsidising degress that are more expensive to run?!? No. They are called the proper degrees. At the end of the day if you choose to do a subject that has 2 hours a week that you could do at ANY university, and you want you degree to have any value, you’re gonna have to pay a premium for it.

  • Stuart Neyton
    8 April 2011 at 12:34
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    I don’t think anyone is the least bit surprised at this news. Our awful overpaid vice chancellor has been lobbying the government to increase fees (and to remove the cap on fees) for years. He’s a big supporter of the tiering of higher education.

    Unfortunately all universities are being forced to raise their fees to this level by the government who are slashing the HE budget (in some departments by as much as 100%). London South Bank (the worst uni in the country according to the times) is having to charge over £8000 a year to simply break even. If they charged less than this there would have to be staff redundancies and the quality of education would ultimately suffer as a result.

    £9000 a year for a degree isn’t value for money. I would certainly have been put off coming to uni had fees been that high when considering. And society as a whole will suffer through reduced social mobility and a less educated nation.

    Everyone in society benefits from higher education. Teachers, doctors etc all have degrees. Tuition fees should never have been introduced, should be scrapped and replaced with grants, and funded through general taxation (as was the almost universal consensus opinion 15 years ago)

    I’m not directing my anger at this at the universities themselves (although i make an exception for our own VC, Greedy Greenaway).

  • Stuart Neyton
    8 April 2011 at 12:37
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    To put it more simply, capitalism should never have been introduced into the education system. It’s the reason for inequality in society and the driving force behind the tiering of eduction.

    No fees, no cuts!

  • vanessabrown
    8 April 2011 at 13:27
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    YES!!!: “…questions will no doubt still be raised as to the fairness of £9,000 fees being levied for all undergraduate students regardless of the degree taken, particularly considering the lack of teaching hours currently involved in many Arts courses and the sentiment of many that their courses are used to subsidise other degrees that are more expensive to run.

    Fact is, they don’t want to put off Law, Engineering, Maths (etc.) students by charging them more for their degree. Engineering degrees, in particular, cost a fortune to run. But engineers should pay more as they are highly employable even within the current economic crisis. The CCD newsletter that I get about graduate jobs and internships usually (about 75% of the time) only lists positions for engineers and web developers.

    YES again!: “vice chancellor has been lobbying the government to increase fees (and to remove the cap on fees) for years.

    That is all.

  • jim
    8 April 2011 at 23:39
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    Hopefully this will put people off coming to university to draw pictures and watch films

  • anon
    9 April 2011 at 05:58
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    I’m not even surprised about this decision, but I just can’t understand the set fee for all subjects. £27,000 for a History degree with 4 contact hours a week and the likely prospect of unemployment after graduation? Beyond ridiculous.

  • andrew
    10 April 2011 at 10:10
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    Just for those who are in favour of the rise/see it as an inevitability, a few things to consider:

    1. As a language student I get around 8 hours teaching a week, with only 1 hour a week of actually speaking the language. This compares to basically a 9-5 for some students (engineering for example). These students also get millions of pounds more pumped into facilities for them.

    2. Arts students (on average) will earn less than science students. We are currently and of course will be expected to pay the same for considerably less. We might even be paying more, given that there is always more funding for science degrees.

    Why should we have our funding slashed and be expected to pay more, when already ‘value for money’ does not exist.

    3. There seems to be an attitude that the only beneficiary of a degree is the student, as well as that the only reason a student might go to university is to have increased earning potential. Both these points I contend.

    There is a hell of a lot of talk that ‘students will be paying less’ back on their student loans… ‘there will be more bursaries’.
    The people that are saying this are being absolutely fooled. The whole point of the tuition fee raise it is to get extra money, and this extra money is coming from our pockets. Don’t be taken in by these claims of students paying less – if students were really paying less they wouldn’t be raising the fees in the first place! Trying to argue that they are raising fees by 6,000 pounds a year and that its actually going to work out cheaper is ridiculous.

    And, finally, I really cannot comprehend how some students back these measures. I can only conclude that they come from fairly affluent backgrounds, or perhaps don’t really understand the situation a large number of students find themselves in when they are unfortunate to neither qualify for funding, or have the money to fund Uni.

    Perhaps these people were a hell of a lot more in synch than I was, at the age of 17. I didn’t have much clue about money and didn’t really think about the financial implications of going to University. This is another danger, that the government actively promotes higher education and what it actually may be doing is pushing thousands of young students into a debt that they don’t really understand at the time of entry.

    While I don’t blame Nottingham, because I see the increase as inevitable given the law change, I can’t help but feel disappointed – even though it won’t affect me as student graduating this year.

  • Boo
    10 April 2011 at 23:19
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    Andrew I totally agree-as an arts student next year I’ll only have 6 contact hours of lectures and seminars per week and even then I don’t find them too helpful-I get so much more out of the independent research I conduct on assignments. I think its totally unfair that Arts students will have to pay for Science students- if we’re really going to make the system ‘fair’ with the taxpayer not paying for the student, then the Humanities student should not have to pay for the science student!

  • Sarah
    11 April 2011 at 09:51
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    So…the university will be ‘extending its work with the community through a new initiative called the ‘Nottingham Potential programme’, designed to work with primary and lower-secondary school pupils.’

    I’m sorry, what?! I can understand that the uni is trying to make high quality education available to non-public school children, but is it really worth it at this age level?! GCSEs and A-level students would surely appreciate this input more. And also, how about spending tuition fees on the people who are actually providing this money?

  • Anon
    13 April 2011 at 23:18
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    Surely the only reason why some students back the increase in fees is because they went to schools where £20k+ could be what they’re paying for a year? £27k for 3 years of a degree must seem cheap when you come from that background!

  • Anon
    14 April 2011 at 10:09
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    Can I just dispel the myth that Arts and Humanities subsidise Science and Engineering? Tuition fees are only part of a university’s income. Science and Engineering research contributes hundreds of millions of pounds to the university coffers, more than making up for the extra contact hours. For example, just 2 of the patents the university holds relating to MRI have brought in ~£180 million so far. Lab refurbishments etc are usually funded by government grants, which they get because it benefits the economy to have a strong science and engineering sector.

    Also, while Phil may paint a rosy picture of Humanities students, I know plenty who fucked around for 3 years and still pulled out a 2.1. I read dissertations that, frankly, could have been written by an A-level student, again getting ‘that magic 2.1’. I don’t deny that some people can make something of these courses and enhance their education, but it’s nowhere near universal amongst undergraduates.

    The reason we’re in this tuition fees mess is that no government has the balls to admit that sending 50% of young people to university for the sake of it was a stupid idea and is a huge waste of money, both for the government and the students themselves. People were cursing their degree when debt was lower than it is now, and far lower than it will be, because institutions ‘like the British Civil Service’ don’t absorb the vast number of arts and humanities graduates we pump out every year, leaving many 3 years behind in jobs their peers started at 18, with a pile of debt. Tuition fees shouldn’t have gone up, student numbers should have been slashed and fees reduced, if anything.

    University should be open to people form all backgrounds, just not so many of them across the board. It is a privilege, and should be given on merit, not to everyone to win votes, and not to the rich because they can pay.

  • Boo
    18 April 2011 at 12:42
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    Oh right I hadn’t realised that about science Anon thanks for pointing that out. In thaaaat case, they should definitely make Arts degrees cheaper-anything I learn from the degree is in my own sweet time and not from lectures and seminars (of which I attend sporadically). All I really need from Nottingham is the piece of paper with 2.1’s and then ultimate piece of paper that says I’ve got a degree- not necessarily the bits in between. Sometimes they show youtube videos in my lectures!!!!

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