Looks Like University Tuition Fees Are Still Going To Increase Regardless Of The General Election

As we settle into the reality of a Brexit and a snap election, you’re probably (still) wondering what that all means for university education. So are we.

Looks Like University Tuition Fees Are Still Going To Increase Regardless Of The General Election

by Jazmin Kopotsha |
Published on

Very few of us expect anything but bad stuff when tuition fees pop up in the news. Our generation holds a lot of deeply rooted resentment towards the government after watching tuition fees rise and inflation on Student Loan repayments only increase as time has gone by.

It's for this reason that students are probably going to approach June’s General Election with a significant amount of scepticism, and can we blame them? If recent history is anything to go by, the prospect of new leadership doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be all that much easier to afford a university education.

But what this surprise election does mean, is that any Bills going through parliament are (in theory) at risk of being dropped. We’re speaking specifically about The Higher Education and Research Bill that cropped up in 2015 but if you’re not familiar with it, it’s the one that, if passed, would allow universities to increase their tuition fees (again) to beyond the £9,250 limit that’s in place at the moment.

Not all universities will be able to though, just the ones that meet a ‘higher standard’ of teaching. So that pretty much means Higher Education as an industry will be a whole much more competitive, the effect of which would take even more of a toll on your bank balance should you go to a university that qualifies as one of the more elite ones.

At the moment, The Higher Education and Research Bill is at ‘ping pong’ stage, which is basically parliamentary limbo between approval, amendment and actually becoming law. It’s believed that the Bill is likely to be passed, the only reason it wouldn’t be is if it doesn't go through by 3rd May (when Parliament dissolves because of the election) as any reforms that aren’t made law before an election are customarily abandoned.

This week it was subject to negotiation in the House of Commons and subject to calls from Labour and the Lim Dems to delay raising fees, Teresa May is going to have to agree to push back the increase if she passes the bill before the General Election, reports *The Times. *

Initially, the fee rise for top performing universities was expected to take effect in 2019, but this is now apparently going to happen in 2020, once Brexit has taken effect and we have actually left the EU. Lib Dem education spokesman John Pugh told The Times: ‘The government in this wash-up has flunked another test. It is not a coherent plan, it is just desperate to clear the decks to deliver a harder Brexit’.

It’s no secret that the reality of Brexit is one that no-one fully understands yet. But all we do know is that The Higher Education and Research Bill is now due to become law pretty soon, in two year’s time, some of the UK’s best universities (which, let's be honest, loads of people find difficult enough to reach for a list of reasons that has the current cost of tuition right at the top) will be able to charge even more than what many are struggling to pay at the moment and we still don’t quite know for certain how or if this new upper limit will be monitored or regulated.

Coupled with the recent news that Student Loans will see a sharp increase in interest rates thanks to Brexit, things look bleak for university students. And I’m sure many of us are pretty anxious to find out how much will be (properly) explained and what will be promised as manifestos come out and the election race ploughs on. It’s sure as hell going to take a lot to make that £50,000 (and rising) of debt a more realistic pill to swallow, though.

Like this? You might also be interested in…

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Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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