Government proposals, set out by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson, would allow for universities to increase their fees to a maximum of £9,250 for 2017.
A number of universities including Durham, Kent and Royal Holloway have already stated fees of £9,250 for students that start courses in 2017, even though the new legislation has yet to be passed.
The University of York, among the majority of British universities, has yet to announce whether it would increase fees to a new upper limit.
In response to the planned fee increases, David Duncan, University of York Secretary and Registrar said: “The University of York has not made any decision about Home/EU tuition fees for academic year 2017/18 and beyond. We believe it is premature to do so while the White Paper is still being debated in Parliament and government rules regarding fees remain unclear. UK and EU undergraduate fees are therefore still as stated on the University website:
“York’s tuition fee for 2016 entry is £9,000 per year for UK/EU students and Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man residents. Please note that fees may be subject to increase in future years.”
The government proposals would allow universities to increase their fees in line with inflation, given that they meet a certain criteria to ensure quality teaching. This inflationary increase would allow for an extra £250 to be charged for students beginning courses in 2017, and potentially for existing students if this is contractually permitted.
The ‘teaching excellence framework’ that would determine whether an institution is allowed to increase their fees to the highest level has yet to be created. However, for 2017, the government has stated that nearly every university would meet the required standard, therefore making £9,250 the effective maximum fee.
Duncan continued: “Following an announcement by the Universities Minister, Jo Johnson MP, we have however been able to confirm to students from other EU countries who begin undergraduate programmes in 2016 that they will be charged the same fees as UK students for the duration of their courses (regardless of how long they study with us), and that they will have the same access as UK students to loans via the Student Loans Company.
“We will make any further announcements about fees as and when appropriate.”
In defence of the higher fees, the government has argued that they wish to counteract the decrease in university income through tuition fees in real terms, when inflation is taken into account.
A petition against the increase created by the Labour Party had 207,000 signatures at the time of writing.
New legislation allowing for the fee increase will be debated in parliament this Autumn.