University fees cap to rise to £9,000
02 Nov 2010
The BBC is reporting tonight that the government will announce tomorrow that the tuition fees cap will be raised to £9,000.
The Universities Minister, David Willetts, is expected to make a Commons statement tomorrow, giving the government's response to the Browne Review.
Universities that set fees above £6,000 will be expected to use the extra income to improve widening participation through bursaries and other measures to help students from poorer homes.
The BBC also said that the repayment of loans would start once graduates are earning over £21,000 a year, the level proposed by Browne.
It also said that better-off students would be able to pay fees up-front without taking out loans.
The Browne Review had proposed no limit on fees but this was felt to be politically unacceptable to Liberal Democrats in the coalition government.
Ministers had considered setting the cap at £7,000 but it seems some universities that felt this level was too low have lobbied to get the higher cap. There were suggestions that some universities might have considered going private if the cap was set too low.
Why universities wanted higher 'cap'
In his review, Lord Browne indicated that a tuition fee of £7,000 would be roughly the level universities would require to 'maintain investment at current levels'.
This appeared to anticipate the cuts in the Comprehensive Spending Review, which cut funding for teaching by 40% (or £2.9 billion) by 2014-15.
Several universities realised that a 'cap' of £7,000 would give them no more than a standstill budget and they lobbied for a higher cap, believing they need that to maintain global competitiveness.
In future, only science, technology, engineering and maths subjects will receive government funding for teaching. Other subjects will have to be funded from fees.