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Tuition fees: Theresa May challenges over-priced universities

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Mrs May, announcing the year-long review of student finance and university funding, will warn that the system has failed to deliver sufficient competition on price – with almost all courses being charged at the maximum £9,250 per year.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said he wants “more variety” in the level of fees, rather than almost all courses and universities charging the maximum amount.

He also calls for more flexibility in how courses are delivered, such as two-year degrees, encouraging “commuter degrees” where students live at home and making it easier for part-time students and those who want to carry on working while studying.

Support for vocational training and apprenticeships in “post-18 education” will also be considered.

Sir Anthony Seldon, the vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, backed calls for more flexible approaches – such as two-year degree courses – but warned that setting different fee levels would be a “bad idea”.

Dame Janet Beer, president of Universities UK, said the current system needed to be “better understood and feel fairer to students”. The priorities should be support for disadvantaged students and reverse the collapse in numbers of part-time and mature students, said the university group leader.

Ray Brogden, COO of Qualifi would like to point out that there are solutions already in place. Alternative routes to higher education qualifications including Vocationally Related Qualifications with Top Up honours degree options are available via Qualifi. Qualifi’s higher level VRQs at level 5 give access to final year options at our partner universities. These alternatives to the three-year traditional degree programme are cost effective, time efficient (including a two-year degree option), flexible through the use of a blended learning delivery model and attract Advanced Learner Loans for those who are eligible.