Student finance review could lead to higher fees

— Tom Haughton contributed with this report

NUS president Wes Streeting warns that a raise in tuition fees could potentially bring the government down. | Photo: Labour Students
NUS president Wes Streeting has warned that a raise in tuition fees could potentially bring the government down. | Photo: Labour Students

The government announced on Monday the formation of an independent review into student finance in higher education, which the National Union of Students (NUS) have claimed will lead to a rise in tuition fees.

The review is led by Lord Browne, former BP chief executive, will “examine the balance of contributions to universities by taxpayers, students, graduates, and employers,” according to Lord Mandelson, the business secretary.

“This is an important piece of work which will require extensive consultation with all who would be affected by any changes, including current and potential students. I look forward to hearing the recommendations of the review team in due course,” Mandelson added.

The review has been negatively met by the NUS, as they call for emergency action in Parliament, which is taking place on Wednesday, November 11th. The NUS aims to get the various political parties to state where they stand on tuitions fees in higher education. Students and Students’ Unions around the country are expected outside Parliament to show student opinion on the review.

Wes Streeting, the NUS’s president, said: “There is a real danger that this review will pave the way for higher fees and a market in prices that would see poorer students priced out of more prestigious universities, and other students and universities consigned to the ‘bargain basement’. This would be a disaster for UK higher education and must not be allowed to happen.”

A YouGov poll commissioned by pressure group Compass revealed that only 12% of the public think the review should even consider increasing fees, while a majority believes that it should look at alternatives to fees.

The findings of the review will be published in 2010, most likely after a general election and a change of government.

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