Five things that could happen next with tuition fees

The BBC reports that tuition fees in England are under intense scrutiny – with a huge amount of confusion about what is going to happen next. They’re meant to be increased even further – but there is a feeding frenzy of briefings suggesting that they are more likely to be reduced.

No one wants to be left holding an unpopular policy when the music stops – and Downing Street and the Treasury, as well as education ministers, will want a fee system that is more attractive to voters.

So what are the options?

1) Carry on regardless. The first decision is whether to stick with the current policy of increasing fees again to above £9,500 for 2018. 

Students are already applying for these courses, but such is the political vacuum that no one can tell them how much it will cost. Sources within higher education are less vague. They say that the planned increase is “dead in the water” or “one for the birds” and universities are working on the assumption that fees will not be raised above £9,250.

2) Lower fees: The idea of fees being pitched lower than £9,250 has an initial political attraction in that it is a clear reduction in the headline figure. But would the government then be expected to pay universities for the lost revenue from fees?

Read more options  Five things that could happen next with tuition fees

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  1. I can see the logic of tuition fees, but… Look at what has happened to the HE economy. The fees have rocketed to the highest level possible (Of course they would right?), the system becomes a wash with cash and salaries and pension pots rocket too.

    Now, there is a simple capitalist equation working here. Where there is demand there is supply, where there is cost there is a question over quality/value.

    The 50% of school leavers moving into HE was a vanity project by the 1997 Blair Labour Government, not a demand by employers with skills gaps. To enable capacity to grow in HE to accommodate 50% of school leavers entering HE the number of courses on offer rose significantly, again not because of demand, because the then Government wanted to hail 50% of school leavers going to Uni.

    Now in 2017 young folk question the value of the regular degree courses that are available and then assess the value in terms of monetary commitment and their effectiveness at securing a job. The figures do not stack up! 50% of school leavers are not becoming highly paid doctors, lawyers, accountants and professionals, they are benefitting from the experience of higher education but they could probably get that from a gap year, which would cost a fraction of the cost involved in achieving a media studies degree.

    Now, here is the rub. I can support the high fees to some extent, you’ll only pay back when you start earning etc, you will probably have the loan written off… So, if those arguments are really used there surely is no value? Plus there is interest and a vastly extortionate rate due, who is going to pick up this tab? Who will fill the pensions black hole that cannot be sustained and who will explain to the next batch of Vice Chancellors that its not a £350k per year job its £100k once the market responds to what is realistic based upon the number of young people choosing HE over the many alternatives

    This is what happens when Government chooses policy over market needs. I feel we have lost two decades and let down many thousands of youngsters thinking the debt would be worth it in the end

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