University entrants next year can expect to pay higher tuition fees of over £8,500 on average, greater than the latest estimate of £8,385 for 2012/13. In addition a third of English institutions will be charging the £9,000 maximum amount as standard for a degree. Around three in four will also charge the top rate for at least one of the undergraduate courses they offer.
These are data from official figures for English university fee levels for 2013/14 published Wednesday by the Office for Fair Access (Offa). The report came along with individual institutions’ latest plans to ensure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds were not priced out of higher education.
In a major shakeup of the system, every university that intends to charge students more than £6,000 and up to £9,000 is required to submit an annual “access agreement” which Offa has to sign off on. A story on The Guardian said that a total of 122 universities and 28 further education colleges have access agreements for 2013/14, the second year of increase in tuition fees.
Institutions failing to meet targets on recruitment and retention of students face a hefty fine or altogether losing the right to charge higher than £6,000.
It was originally predicted by the government at the time when tuition fees were set to be raised that the average annual figure would only amount to £7,500, and it is only in “exceptional circumstances” that students will be charged more than £6,000.
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