Cambridge hikes foreign surcharge

Deficit of £30m forecast even as non-EU fees take second 10% rise in a row, writes Simon Baker

May 5, 2011



Credit: 67 Photo/Alamy
Cantab tab: Annual fees for some overseas students could exceed £20,000


Tuition fees for new overseas students at the University of Cambridge are set to rise by 10 per cent in 2012-13 for the second year in a row - but the institution says it will still have to run a budget deficit of more than £30 million over the next three years.

The proposals would see some international science students face fees of about £20,000 a year, while most undergraduate arts and humanities courses would attract annual charges of at least £13,000.

On some postgraduate courses prices will climb by more than 10 per cent. One, the MPhil in advanced chemical engineering, would rise by more than 30 per cent to £21,0.

Fees for students from outside the European Union who are beginning courses at Cambridge next year will already be 10 per cent higher than present levels after a hike announced last spring.

The increase was to have been faced by all non-EU students, but after objections Cambridge said it would now keep the increase to an inflation-only rise for those already on courses - a rule that will also be applied for 2012-13.

The 10 per cent jump is much higher than average increases for overseas fees across the sector, which worked out at 5.6 per cent for classroom-based subjects and 6.1 per cent for lab-based courses this year.

Cambridge said the increase reflected a "further rise in university costs and the fees charged by comparable international institutions".

The proposals - which are subject to approval by Cambridge's "parliament", the Regent House - came as the institution's governing council published more information about its decision to charge £9,000 fees for home and European Union undergraduates from 2012-13.

Cambridge is planning to run deficits on its teaching and research activities for each of the next three years, with a cumulative total of more than £30 million.

An official notice on the subject adds that the university's finances "remain under considerable pressure and there are significant risks in the budget including pension costs, pay inflation and the under-recovery of research overheads".

A statement by Steve Young, senior pro vice-chancellor for planning and resources, adds that the deficit is expected to hit £9 million in 2011-12 and £13 million in 2012-13 before "heading slowly towards balance in 2015-16".

In his update, Professor Young says he believes running the deficits is "the right thing to do, because to cut deeper would be extremely damaging both to our reputation and to our competitiveness".

Rahul Mansigani, president of the Cambridge University Students' Union, said the increasing student fees were "extremely concerning".

simon.baker@tsleducation.com.

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