Farming students face full £9000 tuition fees under Tory led government plans
Farming and agricultural students face the maximum fee increase from next year following the Government’s plans to cut university funding and allow institutions to treble student fees.
On Wednesday 27 April Labour led a debate on the Government’s higher education policy in the House of Commons challenging the rise in student fees.
The Office of Fair Access has announced that all of England’s universities will charge at least £6,000 a year from September 2012. However, most of the universities with specific agriculture and farming courses are looking to charge the full £9,000 a year allowed under the Tory-led Government’s plans.
Last December, the Government promised that universities would only charge £9,000 in ‘exceptional circumstances’. The reality looks very different – with £9,000 looking to be the norm for agricultural institutions.
The Royal Agricultural College stated that its decision to charge the full £9,000 per year was taken ‘in the light of significant cuts in Government funding.’
Shadow Environment Minister Willie Bain commented:
“This latest news that most higher education institutions specialising in agriculture are seeking to charge the maximum allowed under the Government’s new rules will be a bitter blow for many seeking to enter the sector.
“We want UK farming to lead the world in innovation and growth and that means encouraging more students to study at a higher level. Defra’s own figures show that we need to attract 60,000 new entrants to the sector, many of whom are likely to require higher level skills. Yet, the Tory-led Government is making it harder for the next generation to get on.”
Agricultural higher education institutions charging the full £9,000:
• Harper Adams University College
• Royal Agricultural College(Circencester)
• Reading University (agricultural courses)
• Nottingham University (biosciences)
• Newcastle University (agriculture dept)
• University of Lincoln
Not yet agreed fee rate
• University of Cumbria (not yet known)
According to Defra, over the next 10 years (2010-2020) the sector will need 60,000 new entrants. These are likely to require higher skills levels than the workers they will replace.
At a speech on 8 December 2010, David Cameron said: ‘in exceptional circumstances, some universities will be allowed to charge £9,000. That’s the absolute maximum. These are headline figures, and they are the figures that I know people are concerned about.’
The Royal Agricultural College statement on charging £9,000 tuition fees can be found here: rac.ac.uk/news/college-news/rac-announces-9-000-tuition-fees
Read more in the Farmers Guardian here: www.farmersguardian.com/home/latest-news/labour-challenges-student-fees-hike/38618.article