Durham University is planning to raise tuition fees to the maximum level of £9,000 per year, Palatinate can exclusively reveal.
The proposals also include a programme of scholarships and bursaries, the details of which are to be announced in the spring. Durham’s pricing plan was confirmed following a meeting of its University Council.
Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins said: “With our plans for a generous and flexible programme of financial support, we aim to ensure that affordability will not be a barrier to Durham attracting the best and brightest students.
“The value of a Durham degree, enhanced with the opportunities we provide for participation, pastoral support, leadership and personal development in our community, is clear.”
Professor Higgins was adamant that the near tripling of fees will not put students off, describing investment in study at Durham as having “life-long rewards.”
Durham Students’ Union president Sam Roseveare also defended the decision, welcoming the plan to develop a programme of student support.
“Competition for places at Durham in several subjects is the highest in the UK and a Durham degree is worth the investment.
“We will now be looking to the University to fulfil its commitment to providing the further enhancements to student services and facilities that will now be possible.”
The move comes after Oxford, Imperial, Exeter and Cambridge have all announced that they will charge £9,000 a year.
Unlike Durham, which is to announce its plans in the coming months, both Oxford and Cambridge have set out the details of a package of fee bursaries and subsidies.
Cambridge is promising to introduce means-tested support of £3,500 for poorer students, which can be spent to reduce tuition fees or as a cash sum in a bursary.
Under Oxford’s proposals, students from households with an income of less than £16,000 per year will only pay £3,500 for their first year, the rest of which would be paid by a university subsidy. Subsequent years would cost £6,000 per year.
There will also be fee reductions for students from families earning up to £25,000 per year.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had claimed that Oxford and Cambridge would have to “dramatically increase” the numbers of students from less privileged backgrounds before they would be able to charge £9,000 fees.
However, the guideline on access agreements from the Office of Fair Access suggests that it will not act as a price regulator.
It instead says that universities charging £9,000 fees will have to spend £900 on protecting access for poorer students.
There were initially mixed reactions from Durham students to the government’s decision to raise tuition fees.
In a march on Palace Green in November of last year, there were a variety of opinions expressed, but overall the protest was attended by just a few hundred students.
According to an official statement, a programme of scholarships and bursaries “will ensure that Durham continues to recruit the students with the greatest merit and potential, regardless of background, to benefit from Durham’s distinctive degrees.”
Stay tuned to www.palatinate.org.uk for the details of the proposed bursaries and scholarships.
What do you think of Durham’s decision to raise tuition fees? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.