30 years of debt: Oxbridge fees could rise to £16k

New fee plans mean you might be paying back student loans when you’re 50

Want to go to Oxbridge? You could be paying your student loan back until you’re 50, if the government has its way.

Former Tory higher education minister Willetts has held talks with UK uni top brass to discuss buying their students’ debt.

This would cause a major increase in fees to an eye-watering £16,000 a year.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, he said: “There is a long standing issue with Oxbridge, because their distinctive high model means that the £9,000 does not cover all their costs.”


Oxford and Cambridge both say they need students to cough up 16k a year to pay for small group seminars and the expensive collegiate system.

If Willetts’ plan comes into action, Oxbridge students who want to read a three-year degree will be landed with £60,000 of debt.

And given the average £25k starting salary of an Oxbridge grad, they’ll be paying back their loans over a period of 30 years.

The sixth-form hopefuls keen to study longer courses like engineering and medicine will be stumping up even more.

Oxford Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton is on board. Last October, he proposed the £16k a year price hike last year, saying “excellence in most walks of life does not come cheap.”

No problem for Hamilton: he pockets £424,000 per year as one of the highest paid uni vice-chancellor in the UK.

oxford fees splash

Demon Andrew Hamilton is keen for a £16k fees hike

Students are now questioning whether they would even apply to Oxbridge with such high fees.

“It would be unbelievably prohibitive for students,” said Jon Whitby, a fourth year medic at Cambridge.

“I’ll be at Cambridge for a six year course. Right now, I’m going to graduate with over 50 grand of debt. If these new fees come in, I would leave with over 100 grand to pay back. People just wouldn’t apply to Cambridge.”

Lilly Carlisle, who just graduated from Cambridge, said: “I would definitely have looked elsewhere.”

“My four year course at this rate would cost £56k in tuition fees alone, that’s an absurd amount of money.”

“A major concern would be that it would probably deter individuals from poorer backgrounds from applying,” added Ronan Llyr, a second year medic at Oxford.

“You would be losing talented individuals.”