12 Oct 2010

Exploring both sides of the university tuition fees debate

Health and Social Care Editor

Social Affairs correspondent Victoria Macdonald describes how universities are reacting to the Browne review into higher education.

The University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University are geographically just several hundred yards away from each other. In their responses to today’s review of Higher Education funding, they could not be further apart.

Up the hill, the University of Leeds welcomed Lord Browne’s proposals. They will, their statement said, enable them to ‘continue to deliver high-quality degrees and provide it with a sustainable future’.

They have a student population of 33,000. Currently, the funding system leaves them nearly £50 million a year short. Higher fees will enable them to fill in that black hole.

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur said that he could see the University charging about £8,000 a year in tuition fees, possibly slightly more for courses such as medicine dentistry.

But this could leave students with £36,000 worth of debt.

Down the hill, at Leeds Metropolitan University, they said it was a “double whammy with significantly increased fees and a revised student loans system.

“We are a University which has always sought to attract students from all backgrounds and many of our students are from low income families. We are disappointed that these proposals may result in too great a financial burden for some potential students who may decide not to enter higher education at all.”