A new motion from within the conservative government to slash tuition fees could look to save students £5,000 in upcoming academic years.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond is currently considering slashing tuition fees for university students to £7,500 annually as part of the Autumn budget. This move comes after the general election that lost the Conservatives their majority and has been seen by some as an attempt to make the party more appealing to young people, who voted overwhelmingly against the Conservatives in June.
However, government ministers have stated that the reduction in fees is in response to concerns that many students, particularly those taking arts degrees, are not receiving value for money and may even struggle to find jobs in the future whilst universities rake in the cash. The government has also been warned that most graduates will never pay off their student debt, which will be written off after 30 years for students in England and Wales.
If the proposals are to be put in place future students will be saving in excess of £5,000
Science courses are more expensive to run and therefore it has been suggested that although all students will pay £7,500 annually, the government will pay an extra £1,500 each year to the university for each science student to cover the greater cost. Hammond also plans to propose to reduce the student loan interest rate, which currently stands at 6.1%, and raise the repayment threshold to £25,000.
Shakira Martin, the president of the National Union of Students said, “We welcome commitments from any political party – to rethink the failed experiment that is the current £9,000 tuition fees system.” She also criticised the government for not committing to bring back maintenance grants, which were scrapped last year.
Hammond’s proposals are due to appear in the Autumn budget which will be published on 22nd November this year. If the proposals are to be put in place future students will be saving in excess of £5,000 for a standard three-year course as early as Autumn 2018.