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Students: Fees and Charges

Question for Department for Education

UIN 2968, tabled on 18 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding has been made available to universities to cover tuition fee reductions for (a) domestic and EU and (b) international students.

Answered on

26 May 2021

Universities and other higher education (HE) providers are autonomous and responsible for setting their own fees within maximum fee limits set by regulations, where applicable. The government has been clear that universities are expected to maintain quality and academic standards and the quantity of tuition should not drop.

The sector has put in significant resources and worked hard to provide and prepare learning materials for this academic year and there are some fantastic and innovative approaches to delivering high-quality online learning.

However, we have made an additional £85 million of student hardship funding available to HE providers in the 2020/21 academic year.

Providers have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that best prioritises those in greatest need. The funding can be distributed to a wide population of students, including postgraduates (whether taught or research) and international students.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding HE providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds.

We know that not all students will face financial hardship. The current measures aim to target support for students in greatest need and the government continues to monitor the situation going forward to look at what impact this funding is having.

To ensure the HE student finance system remains financially sustainable, only those students who fall within the categories of eligible students in regulations qualify for home fee status and are subject to maximum fee limits for their UK courses. HE providers can charge higher fees for international students who are not eligible for home fee status. Whether or not an individual student is entitled to a refund of fees will depend on the specific contractual arrangements between the provider and student.

The government has already announced that maximum fees in the 2021/22 academic year will remain at £9,250 for a standard full-time course. We also intend to freeze the maximum tuition fee caps for 2022/23, which will reduce debt levels for students compared to allowing fee caps to increase with inflation and help to keep the cost of higher education under control. This will be the fifth year in succession that maximum fees have been frozen.