Set Cambridge tuition at £9,000 with discount for poorest students, internal report advises

Tuition fee levels at the University of Cambridge should be set at £9,000 from 2012-13, but students from the poorest backgrounds should be given a £3,000 discount, according to a draft report seen by Times Higher Education.

February 7, 2011

The document, published on the university’s internal website, says Cambridge should charge the maximum level permitted partly because “it is expected that most if not all of our peers will charge the maximum fee”.

According to the report, the provision to poorer students of a £3,000 waiver – which should also be accompanied by a maintenance bursary of £1,625 – will ensure “the cost of tuition fees for low-income students is no higher than at any other mainstream English university”.

Students from households earning less than £25,000 would be entitled to the full waiver and bursary – reducing the fees they pay to £6,000 – while those whose families earn up to £42,000 will be entitled to a discount that tapers off with income level.

The draft recommendation from the university’s working group on fees, bursaries and widening participation, which reached its decision on January, will put pressure on other institutions as they decide how to pitch their charges under the new funding regime.

It comes just days before the government is due to publish its final guidance to the Office for Fair Access on how it should judge university access agreements, which will be required from institutions seeking to charge more than £6,000.

The Cambridge working group says that charging less than £9,000 would be “fiscally irresponsible” because of the significant loss per student the university would still suffer.

It also warns that a lower fee “might raise questions about our commitment to excellence since a reduced fee in the long term could only be sustained by reducing costs and hence quality”.

The report adds that the fee should apply regardless of the course concerned, given that the Higher Education Funding Council for England is expected to continue providing some teaching funding for high-cost subjects.

On the fee waiver, the report says that concentrating a £3,000 discount on students from the lowest-income families could help to tackle the problem of debt aversion among that group.

The working group, whose recommendations will go before Council before it decides a proposed fee next Monday, also says Cambridge should increase its target for the proportion of state school students it admits from 58 per cent to between 61 and 63 per cent.

simon.baker@tsleducation.com

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

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy

Participants enjoying bubble soccer

Critics call proposal for world-first professional recognition system ‘demented’