OFFA comments on proposed new fee levels
Commenting on today’s announcement by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts of new tuition fee and support arrangements, Sir Martin Harris, Director of Fair Access, said: “Now that the Government has announced its proposals for new fee and support arrangements for 2012-13 and beyond, we can start to look in detail at the access measures to be put in place.
“The big fear when higher fees were introduced in 2006 was that students would be deterred for financial reasons. In the event, they were not, and much credit for this can be given to the access measures that were implemented, including increased student support and access agreements, to strengthen the work already taking place in the sector. However, clearly, with fees now proposed at a significantly higher level, there is an increased risk that disadvantaged students will be deterred. Strengthened access measures, combined with new increased student support arrangements, are therefore going to be of paramount importance in mitigating this risk.
“It will be important to make clear to prospective students that there will continue to be no upfront fees, that maintenance support is available and that, after graduation, monthly loan repayment rates will actually be lower under the new system. This is due to the rise in the level of annual income required to trigger repayments – up from £15,000 to £21,000.”
Notes to editors
- The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) is an independent, non-departmental public body established under the Higher Education Act 2004 to help promote and safeguard fair access to higher education. Our main remit is to regulate the charging of higher tuition fees by English universities and colleges offering full-time undergraduate higher education courses. As a condition of charging higher fees, institutions must have an ‘access agreement’ approved by OFFA setting out their bursary provision for students from low-income backgrounds and any additional outreach work. It is therefore reasonable to describe us as the ‘fair access regulator’ or the ‘fees and bursaries regulator’.
- For more about OFFA, please see our website www.offa.org.uk, particularly the Quick Facts and FAQ in the Press section.
- For further information, contact Zita Adamson, Communications Manager at OFFA, on 0117 931 7272 or 0117 931 7171.