Principal of Queen Mary defends £9,000 fee

Photo: Daniel Gil on Flickr

The head of Queen Mary University justified the institution’s decision to charge £9,000 fees.

Professor Simon Gaskell said: “The methodology we have used is based entirely on the cost of delivering research-informed undergraduate courses at Queen Mary across each of our three faculties, including the costs of continuing to enhance the quality of our physical and IT infrastructure. Our calculations took full account of both the continuing funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the savings that we will be achieving through greater efficiency.”

At the same time, he suggested other universities could be opting for the maximum as a form of ‘status’ affirmation. He said: “I think we could say, based on the brief press releases, the possible implication or inference could be that £9,000 fees have not been based on any calculation of cost but on perception of status.”

Any institution planning to charge more than £6,000 must set out to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) how they intend to ensure poorer students are not priced out.

Queen Mary University has announced a package to help poorer students to apply. These measures include spending 30% of tuition fee income above £6,000 on attracting and helping poorer students and a three-year bursary for students from families with an income of up to £42,600.

MPs voted to raise tuition fees to £6,000 from 2012 at the end of last year, with institutions allowed to charge up to £9,000 only in “exceptional circumstances”. But so far, most universities are clustering around the £9,000 mark, with the elite institutions leading the way.

Those planning to charge the maximum are Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London, University College London, Manchester, Warwick, Essex, Leeds, Durham, Lancaster, Bath, Birmingham, Loughborough, Exeter, Sussex, Surrey, Liverpool, Aston, Liverpool John Moores, Reading, Kent, Central Lancashire, Leicester, Nottingham, Oxford Brookes, City University London, Keele, the Royal Agricultural College, Sheffield, Southampton, Newcastle, University College Falmouth and Queen Mary.

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