SKY high fees could finally be cut for students in 2019 after a Government review of university funding is unveiled next week.
Theresa May will lay out details of a long-awaited review of higher education funding – and whether students are getting value for money.
Options on the table include slashing fees to £6,000 or freezing them from their current £9,250 price as students leave university weighed down with debts of up to £50,000.
Higher education leaders said yesterday tuition fees must be better explained and made fairer for students as well as bringing back maintenance grants for the poorest.
Interest rates on loan repayments – which are as high as 6.1 per cent – will also be reviewed.
Sacked Education Secretary Justine Greening last month accused the Government of dithering on tuition fees after ministers admitted there will be no changes to the £9,000 a year charge this year.
New Universities Minister Sam Gyimah insisted it wasn’t “credible” to ask for changes eight months before the new academic year.
But Ms Greening – who was against a review because of how long they take – said ministers were simply “kicking things into the long grass” and action needed to be taken now.
Last night Universities UK chief executive Alistair Jarvis said: “The system needs to be better understood and to feel fairer to students.
“More should be done to address students’ concerns about living costs so that no-one is deterred from benefiting from a university education.
New investment to re-introduce maintenance grants for the poorest students would be a positive step.
“Our universities offer a world-renowned quality of education and develop the skilled graduates our economy and society needs.
This can only be maintained with stable and sustainable funding, which the current system provides.
“The Government’s review is an opportunity to examine the evidence and to make improvements.”
A spokesman for the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the UK’s most selective universities, said: “Any changes to the current funding model need to be fair and affordable to students, while still meeting the needs of taxpayers and universities in providing students with a high-quality education and experience.
“Finding the right balance is likely to involve making a series of difficult trade-offs.”
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