Leeds Met abandons fees discount

Institution will charge full whack from 2010-11. Hannah Fearn reports

July 8, 2009

The only university in England to offer a substantial discount on student tuition fees has abandoned the policy and will now charge the full £3,312 a year.

Leeds Metropolitan University confirmed today that it will raise tuition fees by more than £1,000 a year, bringing the institution into line with the rest of the higher education sector.

A statement released by the university today says: “Governors at Leeds Metropolitan University have made a unanimous decision to increase fees to the level charged by almost all other universities, which will be £3,312 for full-time undergraduates from 2010-11. For clarity, this does not affect current students and will apply to new students who start courses in 2010-11.”

The decision follows internal wrangling over fees in the run-up to the controversial departure of Simon Lee, former vice-chancellor of Leeds Met. Professor Lee wanted to keep fees at the discounted rate of £2,000 a year against the wishes of members of the university’s governing body.

Professor Lee resigned in February 2009 after being informed that if he did not agree to go, he would face an investigation into “serious complaints regarding his treatment of staff”. Professor Lee later claimed that the disagreement with governors over tuition fees was the real reason for his departure.

Lewis Coakley, president of the Leeds Met Student Union, said that now the decision had been taken to raise fees, the university had a responsibility to provide additional support for hard-up students.

“Given that the board of governors has decided to raise the fees in the current economic climate, it is now the duty of the university to develop a strong and generous bursary package for the least well-off students,” he said. “We would also like to see the additional income being used to raise academic standards.”

The university promised that a review of its bursary package would be forthcoming.

“Leeds Met has a long and proud tradition of widening participation, and the increase [will enable] us to introduce a generous and innovative bursary scheme that offers support to students who traditionally don’t enter higher education, and also increases each year to encourage achievement and progression,” the statement says.

“The increase will also enable us to continue to enhance the quality of the student experience. Details of the bursary scheme will be available in due course.”

hannah.fearn@tsleducation.com

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