Tuition waiver criticised

December 19, 1997

The University of Central England's decision to waive fees for some of its courses has been condemned by some local institutions.

UCE announced last week that students joining its engineering and computer technology and its built environment faculties degree and HND courses next year would not have to pay the new tuition fee of between Pounds 45 and Pounds 1,000 a year.

Peter Knight, UCE vice chancellor, said the university would meet the cost of waiving fees itself to prevent some students from being put off applying for places.

Wolverhampton University this week criticised the move as a short-term solution that would force other institutions to take counter-measures to protect enrolments. It is considering introducing bursaries for students gaining places with its engineering and built environment departments.

Gerald Bennett, the university's pro vice chancellor for marketing, said Wolverhampton had rejected fee waivers because of "concerns about propriety" as they are not actually setting the fees.

Coventry University echoed the criticism, suggesting that UCE might undermine the case that higher education is short of money. A spokeswoman at Coventry added: "Poorer students will not have to pay fees. All UCE is doing is subsidising better off students."

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