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Finance and Money Matters

Tuition fee review 2019

You may have heard about a review of tuition fees – the Augar Review - which the Government announced the findings of on 30 May 2019.

The fees review is a set of ideas, about which even the Government hasn’t yet made up its mind. However, we hope that the Q&A below is helpful in case you have any questions.

What is the tuition fees review?

The Government commissioned Phillip Augar to look at the issue of tuition fees last year, among a range of other things about post-16 education. Part of the aim of the review was to ensure that the university funding system provided value for money for everyone – including students and taxpayers.

What did the review say about tuition fees?

One of the review’s suggestions is to change the maximum cost of tuition fees from £9,250 to £7,500 per year. The review suggests that this change should apply for the first time in the 2021/22 academic year.

The review has also recommended that maintenance grants are re-introduced, for students whose household income is below a certain level. There is at the moment no further detail about this – or what this level would be.

Finally, there is also a proposal that universities should no longer be able to run foundation years for their courses – a year of study at university before starting a degree. Again this is only a suggestion and even if it did become a reality, universities would have two years to replace foundation years with a different scheme.

What happens next?

The review’s recommendations are just that – recommendations. The Government hasn’t said whether it supports the proposals yet and it is unlikely to even discuss them until later this year when it announces its yearly spending plans. There could then be a period of debate among MPs and others before any decision is made.

Any possible change to tuition fees is complicated by the fact the current Government doesn’t have a majority in Parliament, so finds it difficult to make any big changes. Plus, the Prime Minister has announced her resignation, so we will soon have a new leader of the Government. Since we don’t know who the new Prime Minister will be, we don’t know how they view tuition fees.

All of this uncertainty means that it isn’t possible to work out when any changes – if accepted by the Government – will take effect.

What does it mean for me?

if you're starting university in 2019, the review will have no impact on you, or your offer at BCU. There is no need to worry about any changes, as everything you know now about funding and finance will remain exactly the same.

Should I defer my place to take advantage of lower fees?

With no decision yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that fees would be lower or that any grants would definitely be introduced in 2021. By starting your course in 2019 you will be entering employment sooner than if you waited. The vast majority of our students get jobs, often the start of rewarding careers, as soon as they leave BCU – 97% of our students were in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from HE survey 2016/17).

Where can I look for advice about funding and finance?

We’re looking forward to you starting at BCU in September. Our financial support information may be able to answer some of the questions you might have.