Vicky Spratt | Deputy Editor | Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Even The Government Aren\'t Sure That Our Universities Are Worth £9,000 A Year!

Even The Government Aren't Sure That Our Universities Are Worth £9,000 A Year!

The Debrief: Leaked government documents reveal that ministers aren’t sure that even Britain’s most prestigious universities offer a high enough ‘quality and intensity of teaching’ to justify charging their students £9,000 a year

We can all agree that £9,000 is a lot of money. It's probably more than most of us in our 20s have ever had in our bank account at any given time and, yet, those who went to university after the great tuition fees hike of 2010 have shelled out exactly £9,000 a year to attend university, before they paid any other costs. In order to do so, they may have taken out a student loan meaning that they will finish their degree in at least £27,000 before interest.
The rise in fees was controversial at the time and has remained divisive ever since. the Telegraph are reporting that leaked government documents reveal that ministers aren’t sure that even Britain’s most prestigious universities offer a high enough ‘quality and intensity of teaching’ to justify charging their students £9,000 a year.

The private memo was caught on camera and, according to the Telegraph, reveals that ‘ministers believe there is a “problem” that some universities are changing the highest tuition fees rate despite not proving their worth.’

The notes have lead to calls on the government to disclose which universities they are concerned about. People are worried because it seems even they aren’t convinced the education provided by the establishments involved is good value for money.

The memo which contained the information was being carried by an unnamed official as they left Number 10 and walked into the Cabinet Office in Westminster on Monday. According to the Telegraph, the notes also show that ministers ‘are planning to publish a white paper on higher education alongside the Queen’s Speech next month which aims to “solve real problems of quality and regulation”.’

A section of memo - partly obscured by the hand carrying it – titled ‘what problems is the Bill trying to solve’ appears to spell out concerns about the higher education sector which have never been voiced publically by the government before. the note reads, ‘education across the spectrum – from some in the Russell group to courses … through FE [further education] colleges – do not offer the quality and intensity of teaching we expect for 9k.'

A  spokesperson for the Department of Buisness, Innovation and Skills told The Debrief:

'The rate of entry for disadvantaged students to university is at a record high and we are committed to ensuring that everyone with the potential has the opportunity to benefit from higher education, regardless of their background.'

When the maximum amount that it was possible for universities to charge students was raised by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition in 2010, they argued that only universities who deserved to charge the maximum amount would increase their prices. However, many leading universities opted to charge the full amount possible. Whether the service they provide in return for those charges is up to scratch remains to be seen...

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Tags: Politics, University, Money worries