Aston opts for maximum fees

Aston University has become the first institution from outside the 1994 and Russell groups to announce plans to charge tuition fees of £9,000 in 2012.

March 24, 2011

The decision, made public today, will pile even more pressure on to the government, which has been lobbying vice-chancellors to show restraint when setting fees in a bid to keep a lid on the cost of the public loans system.

So far, nine members of the 1994 and Russell groups have announced plans to charge the maximum fee permissible, which the coalition government had claimed would be the “exception” not the rule.

Julia King, Aston’s vice-chancellor and a member of the Browne Review panel, stressed her institution’s “strong” record on graduate employability when explaining the decision.

“With 2,000 graduates each year, Aston is small by comparison with many other universities. It is also highly successful in having a far stronger track record for both graduate employment and social mobility than many other larger and higher-profile institutions,” she said.

Meanwhile, Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln – a member of the GuildHE group – said it was planning to set fees at £7,500 a year, the figure envisaged by the government as the average for the sector.

It said it wanted to “play straight” with students and only charge the “real cost to us of providing their courses”.

Muriel Robinson, the college’s principal, said: “We are not trying to send messages about our quality or how we see ourselves relative to other providers. We are setting a fair fee.

“Our excellent track record in relation to quality, student satisfaction and employability means we don’t need to play games with the fee we set.”

simon.baker@tsleducation.com

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