A few months ago we shared two articles about the tuition hikes occurring at Universities in the United Kingdom. One article, Does Higher Tuition Equate to a Better Education?, covered some basic information known about the tuition hikes in May of 2012 and discussed proposed uses for the extra money being brought into the Universities by the increase in tuition. In the other article we shared at the beginning of June, United Kingdom Tuition Hikes Follow-Up, we discussed some of the other effects of tuition increases in the United Kingdom. BBC News recently shared another couple of articles on the topic of these tuition increases.
In Tuition Fees Set to Rise Again Next Year, Sean Coughlan reports that The Office for Fair Access is stating that fees for the 2013 school year will rise to an average of £8,507, slightly above the current average of £8,414. According to their official website, The Office for Fair Access or OFFA is “an independent, non-departmental public body. Our role is to promote and safeguard fair access to higher education for lower income and other under-represented groups following the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2006-07.” The OFFA attempts to do this by “approving and monitoring access agreements – agreements in which universities and colleges set out their tuition fee limit and the access measures they intend to put in place e.g. outreach work and financial support.” Approximately three out of four institutions are planning to charge the maximum tuition rate of £9,000 per year. However, after taking into account government and university financial support, the average cost per year will be around £7,898.
In a related article, University Applications from the UK Fall 8.9%, the BBC news discusses particular groups of applicants the recent tuition increases are affecting. According to this article, the rate of University application is closely connected to family income. As one would expect, students coming from wealthier families are more likely to apply to the United Kingdom’s University system than students living in poorer situations. Some interesting facts about University application statistics shared in this article include:
- Falls across the UK: England -10%, Scotland -2%, Wales -3%, N. Ireland -5%
- Overseas applications -1.3%
- Biggest drop among older students
- Reduction in students applying between England and Scotland
- Poorer students not disproportionately deterred
- In Scotland, 40% of students planning to live at home, 20% elsewhere in UK
- Changes in fees for 2012 have put admissions under scrutiny: England, fees up to £9,000; Scotland no fees for Scottish students; Northern Ireland, £3,465 (for NI students); Wales £3,465 (for Welsh students)
In light of the higher education access issues caused by these tuition increases, some sources predict students will begin to look to alternative sources for education and training. Students facing financial difficulties may benefit from a blend of traditional coursework and distance learning courses. It is also feasible for students to complete all of their coursework online as the convenience of open ended scheduling with most online courses allow for students to continue to work full or part time. Either way, it should be expected that as University tuition rates continue to rise in the United Kingdom, students will continue to explore other options for their higher education needs.