The government has indicated that it plans to increase university tuition fees above £9,500 for all students, as new rankings for teaching quality are set to be introduced.
Students beginning university in the autumn of 2018 will face the higher fees, which the government says is dependent on the quality of teaching provided. A ‘teaching excellence framework’ will decide on the quality of establishments’ teaching, classifying institutions into either gold, silver or bronze categories.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “Universities will not be able to increase their fees unless they pass rigorous quality standards.”
However, despite the understanding that only those universities offering the best quality of teaching will be able to increase their fees, the government’s published plans say that “all those achieving a rating of bronze, silver and gold will receive the full inflationary uplift”, for courses beginning two years from now. Put simply, lower quality universities look set to be able to charge the same basic tuition fee as the higher quality universities.
“By setting out clear incentives for universities, the framework will drive up quality in the sector at the same time as improving student choice, and, crucially, graduate outcomes – so that we can be confident we have the skills employers need now and for the future,” said Universities Minister Jo Johnson.
“The framework will also give students clear, understandable information about where the best teaching is on offer and for the first time, place teaching quality on a par with research at our universities.”
There are already government plans in place to increase the tuition fees to £9,250 for autumn 2017, if parliament agrees to increase the £9,000 cap on fees that is currently in place, having trebled in 2012.