We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Students hit hard with maximum Top-Fees

March 23, 2005 1:53 PM
David Goodall talking to Southampton University Students

David Goodall talking to Southampton University Students

In information released this month 9 out of 10 universities in England are to charge the maximum tuition fee of £3,000 when they are allowed to raise their fees next year. Only eight have opted to charge lower fees, according to the figures on fees and bursaries from Office for Fair Access (Offa).

The spin on the introduction was that variable fees would enable universities to encourage take up on the less popular yet still important courses. The reality check is that a cash strapped higher education service will get as much money as can given the chance. Commenting on the figures Southampton Itchen's parliamentary spokesman David Goodall, said

"This is a tax on learning."

And he added

"I know from job interviews I did with graduates last year that their debt level was anywhere between £14,000 and £18,000. These top-up fees will only increase their hardship, decrease the incentive to go university and so decrease this countries ability to complete in the international market place"

Commenting on the proposals the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Education and Skills Phil Willis MP, himself a teacher and headteacher with over 30 years professional experience, said

"The decision to go to university should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. Only the Liberal Democrats would abolish all fees and ensure that universities are properly funded."

Liberal Democrats would:

  • Abolish all tuition fees: We would get rid of the present £1125 fee imposed on students and guarantee not to charge any top-up fees.
  • Re-introduce maintenance grants of up to £2000 towards living costs for students from low-income homes and restore students' right to housing and unemployment benefits during the summer.
  • Put more resources into the university sector to help recruit and retain good staff and improve the quality of the buildings, libraries, etc.
  • Develop a 21st century higher education system which would bring together universities, further education and e-learning, open up routes to technical and vocational as well as academic qualifications and make it easier for those who wish to study part-time.
  • Fund these commitments from progressive taxation: from the revenues raised by our proposed 50% income tax band for those earning over £100,000.

This is a positive agenda to invest in young people, because students are a source of the nation's future wealth, not the source of the nation's present taxation.