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Posted on 06 May 2017

Education

Annual increases to tuition fees until 2020

Almost all universities in England will be able to introduce annual increases to tuition fees until 2020, in a deal pushing legislation through Parliament before the general election.


The higher education legislation had been intended to make higher fees dependent on improved teaching. But this will now not be implemented until 2020-21 - and until then universities can make inflation-linked increases without any link to quality. Fees will increase to £9,250 this year.
Student loans to pay for the higher fees are already going to be subject to a sharp increase in interest rates - rising from 4.6% to 6.1% from the autumn.
The Higher Education and Research Bill had faced a large number of amendments in the House of Lords, but a series of compromises has seen the legislation passed by Parliament before shutting down for the election. The legislation had been intended to allow universities to increase fees as long as they could show they were offering high quality teaching. A framework for measuring teaching quality is to be introduced, but the link with fees will not come into force for another three years. Until that time, any university that is part of the plans to measure teaching quality - which is almost all universities - will be able to put up fees each year in line with inflation.
An independent review of this "teaching excellence framework" will begin in 2018 - with the aim of annual increases becoming dependent on teaching quality from 2020-21.