Uni Minister: Max Fees Will Look “Silly”

University Minister David Willetts said top unis would look ‘silly’ if they opt to charge the maximum fees while others offer the same services at a lower price.

000 Caitlin Doherty cambridge defend education cuts david willetts regent house silly tuition fees university minister universtiy council

Earlier this week Universities Minister David Willetts said Cambridge and other top unis would look “silly” if they opted to charge £9,000 tuition fees.

During an interview with Sky News on Monday, Willetts said: “If students find there are alternative providers that can offer a high-quality higher education experience for significantly less than £9,000 universities that have rushed to £9,000 will end up looking rather silly.”

Top notch unis such as Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial have all said they intend to charge the maximum amount, and some lower ranked unis are also expected to join them.

Willetts, a graduate of Christ Church College, Oxford, said that many courses had no reason to charge above £6,000 or £7,000, pushing for a system of different costs for different courses.

Willetts claims unis like Cambridge will look “rather silly”

His comments came after he warned last week that if too many universities opt to charge the maximum fee the Government would “be forced to find savings elsewhere in higher education.”

But  the University Council’s ‘rushed’ decision is due to Government legislation. The Council told The Cambridge Reporter it: “regrets the compressed timetable in which decisions must be made. But…it is necessary… [as their proposal] has to be submitted to OFFA by early to mid-April according to the timetable set out by OFFA.”

2nd year English student Caitlin Doherty, who is involved with Cambridge Defend Education, told The Tab she though Willet’s comments missed the point.

She said: “The University won’t end up looking silly, it will end up looking like a bastion of elitism and class driven privilege unless it takes active steps to preserve and improve its current access schemes.”

The University currently plans to implement a support scheme of £4,600 for poorer students.

Last week, Cambridge’s University Council voted through plans proposed earlier this term for £9,000 fees. Cambridge’s governing body Regent House will now have the final vote on the plans. Academics have until March 25th to vote on the issue.