UK tuition fees temporarily frozen for 2021-22
UK universities are to observe this tuition fee freeze until the official review later this year. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

UK tuition fees for undergraduate programmes are capped at 9,250 pounds for the 2021-22 academic year, according to a new government response. This follows two years of fee freezes after Philip Augar’s Post-18 Education and Funding review in 2019, which recommended fees be capped at 7,500 pounds. Westminster said that it set the higher cap in order to ensure universities deliver “better value for students.”

The interim report reads: “This gives reassurance to potential students that incentives are aligned to encourage courses with good job outcomes and reinforces the government’s commitment to safeguarding the UK’s high-quality research base.” The University and College Union has however expressed dissatisfaction, with general secretary Jo Grady saying it was “not good enough to kick the issue into the long grass until the spending review.”

UK tuition fees: More changes expected

Further higher education reforms are on the horizon for spring, when the government will finalise its conclusion on the Augar report. Though this decision will only be made official in summer, it is expected to be in effect until the final conclusion and its accompanying spending review come to light. The government is also set to review student finance terms and conditions, minimum entry requirements for higher education institutions, as well as the treatment of foundation years. 

Universities UK president Professor Julia Buckingham commented, “Any reforms must be for the benefit of students, the economy and society and be backed by sufficient funding to ensure that every student receives a high-quality education which best suits their needs and aspirations.” She believes enforcing minimum entry requirements is a “regressive move” that prevents students from less-privileged backgrounds from getting into university.

This UK tuition fee freeze is not the first to be implemented in this academic year. Universities in Wales set a maximum of 9,000 pounds, while institutions in Northern Ireland and Scotland charge up to 9,250 poundsannually. Bear in mind that tuition fees in the UK are still subject to change depending on where you come from.