UK students unimpressed with suggestion to vary tuition fees - poll
Not impressed. Source: Twitter/@GazetteReview

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May launched a review into tuition fees and university funding. One of the suggestions to help fix UK’s “broken” and expensive education system, is to vary the cost of degrees according to the course taken.

It’s not an idea students are too keen on, however, according to a new report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), the BBC reported.

More than 60 percent of students from the 1,019 surveyed said they will not support a system where different degree courses will come with different price tags.

Only one in three disagreed with having the same fees across all courses, while 63 percent said they are in favour of this.

HEPI director Nick Hillman told Times Higher Education:

“[Students] are clearly deeply sceptical of differential fees. They don’t like them in principle.”

Neither are they chuffed about the suggestion to charge lower fees for those from poorer backgrounds.

HEPI’s report argues that the purported benefits touted by the idea for differential fees are “largely illusory”.

However, if push comes to shove, more than half (57 percent) would back higher fees for courses that cost more to teach, followed by courses that lead to higher earning (17 percent) and those that are at more famous universities (seven percent).

They are also okay with higher fees being charged for subjects such as medicine, law and engineering.

They are more likely to agree with lower fees being justified for disciplines such as history, the languages or the creative arts too.


Students are okay with higher fees being charged for subjects such as medicine, law and engineering. Source: Shutterstock

“The range of responses is interesting,” Hillman added.

“If we are to have a debate about it, we need to listen to students because they are willing to give more complex answers than saying they just don’t like [variable tuition fees].”

These findings are published amid a public that is growing sceptical of the government’s plan to provide greater price competition in higher education.

At the launch of the education review on Monday, prime minister Theresa May said “all but a handful” of English universities charged the maximum fee of GBP9,250 for their courses, which does “not relate to the cost or quality of the course”.

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