Elite universities welcomed the government’s plans today to raise tuition fees to £9,000, almost three times the current level, if colleges agree to increase scholarships intended to ensure that the poorest are not priced out of a degree. The universities minister, David Willetts, announced proposals for what he described as “progressive” reforms to raise the “basic threshold” for tuition fees from the current £3,290 a year to £6,000. Institutions will be able to charge up to £9,000 only in “exceptional circumstances” and only if they agree to much tougher targets to fund undergraduates from poorer families. The elite Russell Group of universities welcomed the plans, though the Million+ group of new universities said it was “unlikely” that the proposals would sustain university funding in the long-term and expressed concerns over social mobility. The National Union of Students attacked what it described as an “ideological move” to transfer the costs of university education away from the state, and the British Medical Association warned it could have a devastating impact on young people from poorer backgrounds who aspire to be doctors. Labour said the fee rises were “a tragedy for young people”. Many Lib Dems are still wavering over the move –… Read full this story
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