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Calls for fee cap abolition
Thursday, 28 June 2007
University students could pay differential fees according to which university and which course they choose, educational reformer Lord Dearing has suggested.
The peer, who first proposed that students pay tuition fees a decade ago, has told a meeting of university vice-chancellors assembled under the Universities UK banner that only differential fees can equip UK universities to compete.
Lord Dearing insists that universities need "markedly higher levels of funding" to remain competitive on the global stage.
When top-up fees come up for review in 2009, universities may "need to look beyond the state for meeting any further significant increase", he has proposed.
Training students in different subjects generates variable returns for the economy as a whole, Lord Dearing noted, pointing to research which suggested that male graduates in medicine or the sciences prove to be a better 'investment' than those who study arts subjects.
Top-up fees, introduced in 2006, are now charged at the maximum level of £3,000 per student by virtually all UK universities.
Although initial application figures dipped after their introduction, figures released this week suggest that the number of university applications has recovered.