...but fears big money problems if top-ups rise

February 17, 2006

The Welsh Assembly would be forced to abandon its new funding regime for higher education if a predicted rise in top-up fees in England to £5,000 a year went ahead, a leading Assembly member has warned.

Lifting the £3,000-a-year cap on fees in England could force the Welsh to follow suit to prevent institutions in Wales being disadvantaged financially. But this would "break the bank" of the Assembly if it continued to honour a commitment to, in effect, exempt Welsh students who study in Wales from paying top-ups, according to Peter Black, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Spokesman and chair of the Assembly's Education Committee.

Under a deal struck between the Assembly Government and opposition parties, Welsh students studying in Wales will not have to pay more than £1,200 a year when top-up fees are introduced in Wales from next year. The £1,800 difference will be paid by the Assembly, at an estimated cost of £53 million a year.

Mr Black said: "I am concerned that any increase in the upper fee limit of £3,000 would break the bank as far as the Welsh Assembly Government is concerned, and this may force them to abandon their assistance for Welsh students.

"Although we want to see tuition fees abolished, we accept that they are here for the time being and that we have to work with them. What we cannot deal with, however, is an unregulated market in education in which colleges are able to charge their students increasing entry fees to get an education."

He said applications had dropped sharply in Australia after a 25 per cent fees hike.

"We need to ensure that the situation does not get any worse, which is why the Labour Assembly Government must press its friends in Westminster to continue with the cap on top-up fees in England," Mr Black said.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

Cricket player and umpire exchanging bribe

The need to accommodate foreign students undermines domestic practices, says Lincoln Allison, spying parallels between UK universities and global sports bodies such as Fifa