The government’s higher education reforms include plans to raise university tuition fees. And Durham, Royal Holloway, Goldsmiths and Kent have all announced a £250 increase for next year. This, although the government’s tool for doing this — a Teaching Excellence Framework — has yet to even come into operation.
Additionally, some universities, such as Manchester Metropolitan University, have announced £9,000 fees for 2017-18 while also stating in smaller letters on their website that “these fees are regulated by the UK government, and so may increase each year in line with government policy”. Obviously, like Durham et al they are planning to charge £9,250 next year, but are implementing this change with an added element of dishonesty.
The government has made a decision on fees that is separate from its higher education reforms. Universities minister Jo Johnson has justified this by saying that inflation has led to the devaluation of fees over time and that a fee increase of just under 2.8% will rectify this.
In most cases, the increased fees will also be applied to students in the middle of their courses, although the University of Surrey, clearly troubled by the ethics of such an approach, have ensured that their fee rises are just for incoming students.
Join the demonstration against the fee rises and against all of the government’s education reforms on 19 November in London, organised by the National Union of Students and the University and College Union.