University of Southampton plan to raise their tuition fees.

This was decided before a Student vote

The University of Southampton announced today that they plan to raise their tuition fees once again. The new fee of £9,250 could come into effect for the 2017/2018 academic year.

You can read the statement the University released here.

This will not affect the annual fees for students currently enrolled.

Before the University can raise the fees, the Higher Education and Research Bill, which describes the increase in fees, needs to be approved by Parliament.

This move comes following new government measures to link tuition fees with University teaching standards. In a twisted scheme seemingly inspired by the recent Olympic games, Universities will now compete for ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ style medal rankings.

According to the new reforms, announced in May, institutions that score highly will soon be able to raise their tuition fees above £9,000.

Government ministers have argued that this will ensure the quality of teaching remains high across the UK.

Universities do have the option not to opt in to the new TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework). The problem is that with budgets being stretched further than ever, they do need the money.

Inflation is also another major issue. The real value of tuition fees are going down. So whilst student’s pay £9,000, the actual worth of that to the University could be over £1000 less by 2021.

With no alternative offered, Universities are essentially being backed into a corner by the government. Consequently Universities see no other solution than to raise tuition fees.

Elliot Grater, Union Southampton’s VP for education, believes that this shouldn’t be the case. He stressed the need for the University to follow the example of others and speak out against the TEF.

Earlier in the year, the Vice Chancellor of Sheffield University and the President of its Student Union issued a joint statement which voiced concerns about TEF. Elliot also urged the beginning of this kind of open communication between the University and its students at Southampton.

Fees will now also be linked to inflation. As a result, prices are likely to continue to rise year after year.

The repayment threshold has stayed the same, which raises concerns over the affordability of higher education for young people in the future. Criticism that the education system is becoming increasingly elitist is unlikely to relent.

Speaking prior to the announcement, Grater stressed that if the University decided to adopt the new scheme that the “fight isn’t lost”. However he did warn that “the further we get into [the] TEF, the less wriggle room for students”

He also voiced concerns over the mental health affects the changes could have on students. “Debt is one of the biggest causes of depression” he cautioned. If any students are worried about the changes, we advice them to seek help. The Advice Centre is located in the Student Union and is open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.