Politicians are being pressured by vice-chancellors to agree on plans to raise university tuition fees. As teaching grants are scrapped, Universities UK (UUK) has warned that without the higher fees student places would have to be cut.
The government recently announced plans to allow institutions in England to raise tuition fees to as much as £9,000 a year from the present £3,290. If introduced, the changes are likely to follow in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Graduates would only begin repaying loans once they earn £21,000 a year, with possible penalties for early repayment.
Yesterday, a second wave of student protests across the UK caused chaos with mass walk-outs, occupations and vandalism. In central London, police in Whitehall were forced to guard government buildings from as many as 4,000 protesters, many of whom were angered by Nick Clegg’s change in direction after promising Lib Dems he would phase out tuition fees.
The plans must be supported by a vote in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons before being introduced. Many Lib Dems and a handful of Conservatives have said they intend to vote against the fee rise.
The government has said it aims to take a vote on the issue before Christmas.