Cambridge University has announced that it will be charging the maximum possible tuition fees of £9,000, from next year.
The decision has prompted warnings that other institutions will seek to follow their example. However, a report by Cambridge’s working group on fees has argued that it would be “fiscally irresponsible” for the institution to charge anything less than the maximum possible amount.
They also said that they expected “most if not all of our peers” to follow suit.
This announcement came as Oxford University said they would have to raise their fees to at least £8,000.
President of the National Students Union, Aaron Porter said “We can now expect a race to the top as universities rush to gain kudos by joining the ‘£9,000 group’ as quickly as possible. How long before the most expensive universities start asking for the freedom to charge even more?”
It was decided in December that from 2012 Universities would be able to charge £6,000 per year in tuition fees, with certain institutions being able to charge up to £9,000 in exceptional circumstances. However the report from Cambridge now recommends a single rate of £9,000 for all UK and EU students, regardless of the college they attend.
There would be a reduction £3,000 for those students who have a home income of less than £25,000, along with a bursary of £1,625. Those students with a home income of over £42,000 would be offered no financial help.
The report states that even with the tuition fees set at £9,000, the University would still be shouldering much of the financial burden of “significant loss per student”.
Professor Tony Monaco, pro-vice-chancellor (planning and resources) estimates that £7,600 is needed to replace funding lost in the recent cuts made by the government, plus extra to cover capital funding cuts. This would bring the total to £8,000 per student.
The Professor also put forward a “fee wavering” system, similar to that proposed by Cambridge where poorer students would see a reduction in their fees.