Friday, 9 September 2011

Twelve Universities Look to Cut Their Tuition Fees (allegedly)

As I read my morning paper on the train, this wasn't exactly a choke-on-the-cornflakes moment, but pretty close. Without any clear source, it was difficult to make sense of Metro's story.

Fortunately I had my iPad to hand to check the Times Higher site, and they carry a more informative version (dated yesterday, but I didn't see it in the magazine). Twelve is the number of universities which have asked OFFA what the process for changing fees is. This is a pretty low bar for 'considering', so it is likely that most of these universities will do nothing.

Of course nothing prevents a university from offering more fee waivers than it promised to OFFA, so certain universities could come down below the £7,500 level without changing their Access Agreements. Others may have been too slow off the mark to ask OFFA what the process before OFFA published guidance. However for the most part the sums simply won't add up, as the chance of a few additional numbers won't be worth the reduced price on all core and margin numbers.

So one reassuring conclusion - there's no evidence here that many universities will actually change their fees, still less anyone come down from £9k to £7.5k - and one surprising conclusion - the HE coverage in the Higher is sometimes better than Metro.

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