19 April 2016

Leaked document suggests top unis aren’t good enough to charge £9K fees

A government official has been snapped holding a document revealing some unis are ripping off students by charging £9k/year fees. Refund, anyone?
leaked docIt seems government officials are still getting caught out on this one – waltzing out of number 10 with highly sensitive information in their hands whilst surrounded by press photographers. What’s the worst that could happen?

The unnamed official was photographed with the private memo written by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which includes the Universities Minister, Jo Johnston (you guessed it, our Boris’ bro).

The document reveals that students at some top UK universities – including the Russell Group – aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Yes, that’s right – this is official government documentation admitting that students are being ripped off by the £9k fees as Universities aren’t offering a good enough standard of teaching to justify the fees.

What the document reveals: In a nutshell

confidentialThere’s a lot of info going on in this document, so let’s break it down and get straight to the juicy bits:

  • Universities aren’t offering value for money: The BIS admits that some universities who charge the full £9k fees “do not offer the quality and intensity of teaching that we expect for 9k.”
  • Poorer student targets will be missed: They also believe that the Government will fail on its promise to double the number of students from poorer backgrounds from going to uni by 2020. For this, they blame the universities themselves – the BIS claim that unis are not willing to offer more places and entry requirements are too high.
  • Low-quality unis charge too much: There’s nothing to stop universities from charging full whack as this isn’t regulated – even if the teaching and courses are lacking in quality.

So, what now?

Back in 2012, the maximum tuition fees almost tripled from £3,290 to £9,000. At the time, Ministers insisted that this was a good thing and would improve the standard of teaching.

It was also agreed that only those universities who deserved to charge £9k would do so, but this document has revealed that some top UK universities haven’t earned that privilege. And yet – we’re still paying it!

So really this document is just telling us something we already know – tuition fees are too high. The BIS have admitted that universities don’t offer value for money, and this is something we found in our Student Money Survey last year, when 55% of students said that they didn’t think their course was worth the money.

Only a few weeks ago we reported that a quarter of Europe’s best unis are in the UK, so clearly some universities are getting it right. However, it’s clear that there’s no official criteria that must be met in order to charge the full whack, meaning many UK students are, quite simply, being ripped off.

The BIS will be releasing a white paper on higher education next month that, according to the leaked documents, will “solve real problems of quality and regulation.”

We can only hope!

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