Loughborough University will be charging the maximum £9,000 for all undergraduate courses starting in 2012/13, as well as for all science and engineering foundation years, it has been announced.
Whilst a significant number of students are severely against the plans and the huge levels of debt they are almost certain to incur, the university makes it clear on their website that “tuition fee levels are being raised as the public funding from the government is being cut significantly”.
The increase in fees, therefore, is being made to cover losses in government funding, in an attempt to maintain the ‘Loughborough experience’. It’s very unlikely to mean significant increases in funding for AU clubs, societies or departments. Loughborough has been voted the UK’s “Best Student Experience” for the past 5 years and maintaining this must surely be at the top of the university’s agenda.
As part of the government’s decision to allow an increase in tuition fees, the university is only allowed to charge the full £9,000 if they offer suitable assistance to those from low income backgrounds. The university has confirmed bursaries will be available to anyone with an annual residual income below £32,000 and that an additional accommodation discount will be applicable for those whose income falls below £22,000.
The increase in available bursaries could prove to be a vital lifeline for certain students. However, those who are ineligible may be asking where the university finds the money to pay them in a time of decreased government spending.
In addition to the university’s assistance, the government maintenance grant of up to £3,250 will still be available based on household incomes. More information on this grant can be found from Student Finance England. Student finance will continue to be the place to go for student loans to cover living costs.
The debate as to whether these increased fees will affect the number of students applying to the university rumbles on. Certainly, there are few other options to fund degrees of the future, in light of the current financial circumstances and the volume of young people attending university, but how accessible this plan will be for all students; for those from low, middle and reasonably high income backgrounds, could yet be decisive.