It’s official: Uni fees to rise every year of your course
A last minute agreement has just been pushed through parliament that permits unis to increase tuition fees every year in line with inflation!
Credit: Maurice - FlickrAfter two days of parliamentary ping pong, the government and House of Lords have rushed through legislation that will officially allow any universities that have already opted in to the Teaching Excellence Framework (aka most unis!) to begin raising fees - despite agreeing to postpone linking TEF with fees until 2020.
Just last month, the House of Lords rejected the government’s plans to link TEF to tuition fees - which would have meant unis could raise fees yearly depending on how they fared in the TEF’s annual assessment - claiming the criteria wasn’t up to scratch.
However, in a rushed last-minute deal before parliament shuts down for the upcoming general election, it was agreed yesterday that universities can begin increasing tuition fees anyway, and TEF will be linked with fees from 2020 onwards.
The situation: In a nutshell
At the moment, it looks like any university that opted in to TEF earlier in the year will be able to raise fees to £9,250 this September (2017/18).
How much they’ll be charging for fees the following year depends on the rate of inflation for that year, but previously it has been predicted at around £9,500 for academic year 2018/19.
From 2020, TEF will start having an impact on fees. The framework will ‘stagger’ tuition costs by only permitting universities that receive gold and silver awards to continue increasing fees in line with inflation, whilst bronze unis can only increase fees at half the rate of inflation until they improve.
Should students be concerned?
Whilst it’s disappointing that fee rises are going ahead, it’s important to remember the bigger picture of how this will actually affect your monthly repayments. Hint: not at all!
As we explained in our coverage of the loan interest rates going up, students might look set to graduate with more debt looming over them, but how much they repay depends entirely on earnings, and it’s still very unlikely you’ll pay it all off before it’s wiped in 30 years.
The perk of student loan repayment terms is that whether you graduate with £27,000 or £50,000 of student debt, the amount you repay each month is 9% of anything you earn above £21,000.
As our Finance Expert, Jake, explains, it’s the psychological impact of incurring even more debt that’s the problem:
Whilst we did have an idea this was coming, it's still a disappointment that it's been confirmed.
The increase of the fees to £9000 was already a step too far, but allowing universities to rise the fees every year could lead to some pretty scary numbers in a few years.
Having said that, it's important that students remember that this change isn't likely to affect how much they repay.
I'm more worried about the psychological impact this could have in terms of putting prospective students off of university as opposed to the monetary issue.