According to recent analysis, school tuition fees in the United Kingdom are now the most expensive in the world. The minimum average annual cost being £9,188 has clearly indicated its superiority over education in the United States, where student makes an average payment $9,410 (which is £7,518) per annum, according to the Student Loan Calculator website.
British students are also paying significantly more than their other colleagues in other European countries. Annual fees amount is equivalent to just £346 in France, while higher institutions in country like Belgium, Germany, Italy and Austria are also charging less than £1000 a year.
Many other countries such as Scotland and much of Scandinavia do not collect any charge fees at all. However, it is of no doubt that England harbor lots of the world-leading universities than any other European nations. Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London are ranked among the world’s top 10. The United States own the rest except from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology located in Zurich. According to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, nations like France, Spain, Italy and Portugal are not fortunate enough to have a university in the world’s top 50.
In 1998, the Labour Government introduced tuition fees and it was initially based on a student’s financial capabilities. In 2004, the cap was raised to £3000 and then tripled to £9000 by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat coalition government, which took its stand that only the best universities would be permitted to charge at a higher fee. It was later announced the previous year by the Government that tuition cost would be increased again – to £9,250.
It was captured in a saying by the Vice President and the Higher Education at the National Union of Student (NUS), which he stated that “Education is a public good and a universal right, and should be treated as such”.
Major Effect on Students and Schools
Based on a new study which was co-authored by UCL institute of Education’s Dr. Gill Wyness, the England’s progress to a huge tuition fee system has eventually led to increased quality, enrolments and equity in higher education.
This study which was published by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), considered the outcome of the present England tuition fee, which is now among or best said the highest in the world, right from the inception in 1998 till this very present day.
Rigorous research on it has shown that over the last two decades, tuition fee has brought about a substantial increase per head, enrollment as well continued in the same rise, and the participation gap between the rich and poor students has been narrowed.
In opposition to the 1980s and 1990s, which experienced the increase in university enrolments, which was the fastest growth in participation rates since the inceptions of fees has been among the lowest income groups.
This research has hereby suggested that it might be due to the fact that visible increments in the cost of attending the university has been followed by corresponding increases in student aid. This is also backed up by evidence displaying the declination of part-time students, who are for the most part unable to access this aid, during this present time.
In contrast to other countries with high tuition fees, the English mode of income-contingent loans enable students to easily borrow against their future incomes and also indicating the university freedom at the entry point. Opportunity is now out to the poorest England students, who can now access £8,500 per year in aid, in comparisons to less than £5,000 per year in the period immediately before tuition fees.
Over the years, since the introduction of increased fee, there has been drastic increase in investment in the educational sector, and this has been the most notable trend that has taken place, according to the study. Findings have revealed that student funding per head really dropped down to a historical low in 1999 (£6,500 per student) but has been reinstated back to its normal level as seen at the early 90 (around £9,700 per student).
The evidence was argued by researchers that it highlights one of the major challenges being faced by a state-funded, expanding higher education system: insufficient resources.
It was also pointed out by the researcher that a shortcoming of England’s income contingent loans system is that government is fully responsible for the full risk of non-repayment while the university is less concerned. This insinuates that universities have less incentive to vary prices to reflect quality. Another barrier is that students still poorly understand the system.
Dr. Gill Wyness said:
“The income-contingent loan system in place in England has really helped to moderate the impact of rising tuition. It keeps university free at the point of entry, and provides students with comparatively generous assistance for living expenses, while protecting low earning graduates from the risk of high repayments.”