Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

University tuition fees set to rise to £9250

Jul 22, 2016

University tuition fees set to rise to £9250 University tuition fees are set to rise with inflation – meaning the upper-limit for fees will be £9250 per year from 2017.

What is the government proposing?

Universities minister Jo Johnson has made a Written Ministerial Statement announcing an increase in tuition fees in the next academic year. From August 2017, there will be an inflation-linked rise in fees. Fees next year will therefore increase by 2.8% in line with inflation, allowing universities to charge up to £9250 in 2017.

Why is the government proposing an increase in tuition fees?

The government has argued that this increase in tuition fees will allow the value of the fees to be protected from erosion by inflation. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, agrees that the value of tuition fees has already been eroded by inflation, and so “…inflation catch-up is essential to allow universities to continue to deliver a high-quality learning experience for students.”   Only universities which meet government-set teaching standards will be  eligible to charge these higher fees. 

Inflation measures how much prices have changed over time by tracking the cost of a range of products. So the government is arguing that as the average price of products has increased by 2.8%, the cost of university fees needs to reflect this.

Could tuition fees continue to increase?

The government’s ability to maintain fees in line with inflation was instated in 2004, and is subject to regulations.   However, if tuition fees continue to rise in line with inflation, there is the possibility that fees could exceed £9250 in 2018.

Would the fee increase affect those already at university?

The 2017 increase in fees could apply to some students who have already begun courses at university. The terms of current students’ contracts with individual universities will determine whether or not this occurs. The University of Surrey, for instance, has announced that it plans to increase fees to £9250 a year in 2017 for both student starting next year (the 2017/18 intake) and students starting this year (the 2016/17 intake). Current undergraduates from the University of Surrey would not be affected.

Why are some universities already announcing a fee increase?

Under consumer protection requirements, universities would have to announce a fee increase for courses starting in 2017 before applications opened. This means that universities would have to announce fees for next year by early September this year, when the UCAS application cycle begins.  This explains why some universities have already announced their intention to charge higher fees for the academic year starting August 2017. However, universities will not be able to actually charge this amount until Parliament has formally approved the changes later this year. With some politicians and student groups challenging the proposal, this rise might still be rejected – but it doesn’t seem likely.

How would this affect my student loan?

The amount of money you could borrow from Student Finance would also rise with inflation – so your student loan would match any increase in tuition fees. You still won't have to pay until after you graduate and are earning at least £21,000 a year. The proposed tuition fee change also wouldn't affect how much of your loan you would have to repay each month - but it might mean that you’d have to make payments for a longer period of time. Remember, we have a whole section dedicated to helping you understand Student Finance, including the myths surrounding student loan repayments. You’ll still only ever have to repay your student loan if you go on to earn over a certain amount – and it’ll never be more than you can afford.

Related links