University tuition fees 'could be cut to £6,500' after government review
University tuition fees could be slashed to £6,500 a year under plans being considered by Theresa May.
Accroding to the Times, an early draft of a report announced by the Prime Minister in February suggests cutting tuition fees to between £6,500 and £7,500 - with the shortfall made up by the Treasury.
Under the current system, students can be charged up to £9,250 a year for their university course, leaving many graduating with large debts.
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn pledged to abolish tuition fees entirely at last year’s general election, a move that won support from young voters.
But it is estimated that the shake-up outlined in the draft report could cost the Treasury £3 billion a year, while vice-chancellors have already raised fears it could lead to a cap in student numbers or force struggling institutions to close.
One said: “It puts funding of universities in competition with health and defence. Over time it would be insane to think we would keep all that [funding].
"They would have to do something to limit the cost to the public purse so that would lead to number controls.”
Fee income is already set to rise from £9.5bn at present to £14bn in 2024 because of a high number of students working their way through the school system, the vice-chancellor added.
However, a senior figure in the university sector told the paper that the review was testing ideas and that the cut was unlikely to be the final recommendation.
Some expect the final review to recommend that fees be varied for different courses as some degress such as science are typically more expensive to provide.
A final draft of the review into higher education spending, led by former equities broker Philip Augar, is due to the Department of Education in January.