Tuition fees in England: the Offa outcomes

It is well known by now that England’s universities are to be allowed to charge tuition fees of up to £6,000, or up to £9,000 if they reach an access agreement with the Office for Fair Access. This latter body, Offa, has now released the full list of tuition fees and details of agreements reached with individual universities.

First, it is clear from the data released that the planned fees have not been adjusted in the case of any university. As a result 47 out of a total of 123 English universities will charge the maximum permitted fee of £9,000. On this basis the average fee payable by students to English universities will be £8,393. However, in the table produced by Offa allowance has been made for fee waivers, bursaries and scholarships, and when these have been taken into account the average is reduced to £7,793. Again according to Offa, institutions will now invest £602 million in access measures that will improve participation by members of disadvantaged groups.

At the same time we also now have information about tuition fees in Wales: the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has announced that the average fee in Wales will be £8,800, though Welsh students will have a significant proportion of this refunded by the Welsh government.

What the impact of all this will be on higher education, participation levels, student attrition, student migration and access for the disadvantaged remains to be seen. It is also not at all clear at this point how effective the Offa régime is turning out to be. It is certain that a lot of attention will be focused on the higher education experience in England over coming years.

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One Comment on “Tuition fees in England: the Offa outcomes”

  1. Eddie Says:

    “It is certain that a lot of attention will be focused on the higher education experience in England over coming years”.

    BTW, the OFFA information is not new, the details were predicted.

    Lot of attention will also be focused on SNP fee policy to English students, and similarly the “Wales’ shooting the foot fee” policy ( both meant to plug their gaping funding gap to universities, by hitting English students) if and when the English students do not apply in sufficent numbers to go Scottish and Welsh universities. A couple of days ago the Scotsman reported a drop in English applications this year to Scottish universities, that is when the Scottish universities are charging about half of the £3700 fee charged in England. 4 Years degree in Scotland does not sound bad in that case. Yet the applications have dropped. But come next year?

    Lot of attention next year will also be focused when the VCs of the top two universities in Scotland, and in Wales start strongly muttering about the loss of income from English students. If this income is factored into funding to universities in Scotland and Wales by the devolved governments, then one can see how loud the muttering could become.

    The validating of London universities by Pearson for offer to colleges plus the fact that the universities are given the choice to drop their headline fee if they want to recruit more, will help to top up any shortages in numbers in the RGs, Group94 and some top new universities will ensure that not many students will opt for 4 years dgree and the extra year maintenance. Also heard that a few European universities in Netherlands, Belgium .. are interested lure as many as possible citing their lower fees and good quality courses.


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