Tuition fees could be lowered to £6,500 – but only for some students

University tuition fees could be slashed to £6,500 under proposals from a commission established Theresa May.

With plans to reform the system, Theresa May has ordered a review of university costs after coming under pressure when Jeremy Corbyn pledged to abolish fees.

University tuition fees could go down to £6,500 for some subjects, but hike to up £13,500 or more for students studying ‘expensive’ courses like maths, science or engineering.

Students who wish to study ‘expensive’ subjects that require more teaching hours and equipment, could see their tuition fees double under these new proposals.

It is also argued that students who undergo the more expensive subjects will be earning higher wages when they graduate, as opposed to those who study an arts and humanities subject.

Higher-earning degrees like medicine or engineering could be more expensive under new proposals

The idea of a ‘two tier’ system is being strongly considered by Philip Augar who is leading the review of post-18 education.

Whether this proposal becomes an official decision will remain unknown until the review reports next year.

The Department of Education (DoE) will present their review in January.

The DoE said: “People are rightly concerned about value for money, that’s why we’re reforming the system to make it fairer.”

Criticism

The proposal has been labelled as ‘socially regressive’, fearing that poorer students would opt for the cheaper courses, rather than the ‘higher-earning’ courses like medicine and engineering.

Vice-chancellors and politicians also argue that cutting over a third of university income could leave them in financial struggles and be forced into bankruptcy.

Experts state that arts and humanities subjects would also be starved of funding, which could degrade them from the rest.

After promising to compensate short-fallings, the plan could cost the Treasury around £3billion a year.

Thoughts from Canterbury Christ Church Students’ Union 

Phil Kloppenborg, President of Christ Church Students’ Union is concerned that the new proposals and could widen the opportunity gap for students from lower-earning backgrounds.

He said: “In principle the lowering of fees is a positive thing. However in practice, using the suggest method, there may be some issues. I worry that the rise in fees for some subjects may result in those subjects becoming more elitist, which would result in students that come from widening participation backgrounds having less opportunity to study in these areas.

“Also, whilst there might be a higher probability of those students who study in areas, such as medicine, earning a higher wage – this isn’t guaranteed, so why should these students be charged more on an assumption?”

President of CCSU, Phil Kloppenborg

He believes that it could also imply that arts and humanities subjects are less valued than the expensive degrees.

Phil continued: “I also feel that the lowering status of subject areas within the arts, which shall be one of the areas made cheaper, is unfair and seems to diminish gaining an arts degree. It seems to show that gaining a degree within the sciences is worth more than in the arts, which of course is not true.”

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Claisse Opulencia

Editor-in-Chief of Unified. Claisse is a third year multimedia journalism student at CCCU. Amnesty Media Award Finalist 2018, IRN Awards Runner-up 2018 and nominated for two SPA Awards 2018.

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