New costs feesible for students?

Both Liverpool University and Liverpool John Moores University have now proposed to set tuition fees to the maximum of £9,000 per annum. Liverpool Hope University is yet to formally announce it’s final decision, but has indicated that it will not choose to charge the full £9,000.

It was originally claimed by the Government that the maximum course fee of £9,000 would only be charged in “exceptional circumstances”. However, with so many Universities announcing plans to set them to the maximum across the board, this prediction seems far from the developing reality. Universities are reporting that the high costs are necessary to fill the gap left by government funding cuts, Professor Michael Brown, vice-chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University giving the example that charging £6,000 would result in a £26 million deficit. Most Universities have also noted that a proportion of these costs will be used to fund fee reductions for students from less-wealthy backgrounds.

It has been suggested that one other contributing issue is the apparent valuation that the fees put on the quality of the education, with Universities not wishing to imply that they are in some way inferior to others by setting lower fees. According to latest estimates, average course fees are now more likely to land in the region of £8,500 than the originally estimated £7,500.

With the new fees system set to come into play in 2012, Universities are now coping with record numbers of applications as many A level students ditch their gap year plans in the hope of being one of the last to secure their place under lower fees, and subsequently save in the region of £20,000 over their university life.

Graduates ordinarily start paying back University loans when they reach the income threshold of £21,000, and then as their income increases so do the repayments. However, around 30% of the money loaned is never repaid due to graduates never reaching this level of pay before the cut off of either 25 years or their 60th birthday.