Costs of top-up fees 1

November 8, 2002

You report ("Top-up fees trigger Russell rift", THES , November 1) that a "hard core" of Russell Group universities might take a unilateral decision to charge substantial top-up fees.

If they expose themselves to market forces in such a direct way, it might soon become apparent to parents and students that a strong correlation between elite research and teaching excellence cannot be assumed. Many other factors - the tutorial system, arts-science and gender balance, student environment and facilities - have a big influence on the total "student experience", and hence value for money.

Ken Pounds
Department of physics and astronomy, University of Leicester

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