Students put off by top-rate university fees

YOUNG people fear they could be priced out of higher education after the University Of Hull was given permission to charge the top rate of £9,000.

The Office For Fair Access (OFFA) confirmed the university in Cottingham Road would be allowed to charge £9,000 in tuition fees from next year.

The go-ahead comes after OFFA said it was satisfied with measures the university had put in place to make sure students from underprivileged backgrounds were not disadvantaged.

Every university that wanted to charge more than £6,000 in fees had to have proposals for recruiting poorer students approved by OFFA.

But students said the fees were creating a class divide.

Tara Downing, 16, a student at St Mary’s College, said: “The tuition fee hike is ridiculous, almost disgusting.

“It categorises poorer people, creating a social divide

“I now know I will not go to university in England.

“It’s ironic because I want to study English Literature, but now I think I will have to go to a university in Amsterdam or Hungary. I cannot believe that studying abroad is a cheaper option.”

Eve Winter, 16, also a student at St Mary’s College said: “I am definitely put off applying for university now because it is such a large amount of money.

“I think I would be better off to seek out an apprenticeship rather than applying to university as it is a much cheaper option.”

The University Of Hull was one of 123 whose access agreements were approved by the Government yesterday.

In Hull, the package to help disadvantaged students includes “substantial financial support”, which will be made available through fee waivers, scholarships and bursaries.

However, the detail and numbers of students likely to be offered bursaries and scholarships is still being worked out by senior officials.

As part of its access agreement, the university has put aside £4.7 million to offer help to disadvantaged students next year.

This will rise to £5.5 million in 2015.

The access agreement will be reviewed on a yearly basis by the Government.

If the university fails to meet targets on recruitment and retention of underprivileged students, it could face a fine or losing the right to charge more than £6,000.

Now, colleges are making it their priority to ensure students are aware of the financial help available.

David Cooper, vice-principal at Wilberforce College, in east Hull, said: “A lot of the bursaries are shrouded in administrative jargon, so the students do not understand the funds that are available.

“We tried to ensure the students understand the repayment scheme and do not feel scared by the big sums of money.

“Our main focus is that the students make an informed decision.”

Hull Daily Mail

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