Both Universities in Southampton to charge much more than government’s suggested Fees

Posted on April 13, 2011 by

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Both universities in Southampton have now declared their new levels of tuition fees for 2012 and beyond in reaction to cuts in government funding, with Solent to charge £7,800 and Southampton planning to charge the maximum of £9,000.

Both these figures exceed the £6,000 rate originally envisioned by the coalition government, who indicated that universities could only charge more as an ’emergency’ and only if they also widened access to poorer students in other ways.

However, with the majority of universities who have announced their fees going for the full 9 grand allowed, the government is working overtime to play down the backfiring of their plan and a spot of an embarassment for the embattled minister for universities and science, David Willets (pictured above).

As Solent is more teaching-based than Southampton Uni. they have been proportionally hit harder by funding cuts than the latter, yet have made a point of trying to minimise the cost passed on to students by charging £1,200 less.

In contrast, the University of Southampton is charging the full whack, despite having a more stable funding base than Solent with more research-based work bringing in income.

Indeed, the University and College’s Union (UCU) recently worked out what they reckon many universities should be charging in order to replace losses from government cuts, and have found that despite most uni’s plumping for 9 grand the average in fact should be £6,800.

UCU estimated that Solent needed to charge £7,043 to cover the losses, £757 below what they in fact decided to charge (by about 11%), whilst for Southampton this figure is £6,644, a full £2,356 and 35% less than what they have gone for.  Southampton say this is to invest in better services beyond teaching, but UCU claim to have factored everything in.

However, all fee decisions have yet been decided on by the Office for Fair Access (Offa), who have said in the past they’ll only sparingly let them charge more than 6 grand if they dramatically improve access.

Southampton University have put forward a package of fee reductions for poorer students with 36% of undergrads predicted to receive a partial waiver, along with a grant for each student to buy membership for local services like sport centres and bus passes with.

With so many Uni’s desperate to charge the full amount though it seems that Offa would have to be very strict to push fees down to what they think is more acceptable.

In the meantime, education activists warn that with the loss of emas and large sum fees many poorer students will be put-off further and higher education even with incentives in place, and staff continue to struggle to maintain pay, pensions and jobs as cuts begin to bite behind the scenes (with UCU striking a couple of weeks ago to make a point, and more likely to come).

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Posted in: News, Southampton, Students, UK