The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has presented a White Paper named ‘Success as a Knowledge Economy’ which could lead to an increase in tuition fees for students at British universities.

Just six years after Universities were permitted to “adjust to new demands” by requiring UK and EU students pay fees going up to £9,000 and over 15 years after these were first introduced in the country, the White Paper draws the outline of a new system devised to encourage competition between institutions. Both of these previous decisions had been followed by student protests in different parts of the country.

If put in place, this system will have a particularly strong impact on high achieving universities, allowing them to go beyond the original capped amount in order to respond to inflation and high demand from the year 2016/17 onward.

Universities will be expected to provide detail of their graduate employment rate, as concerns were raised last November that the equal price of studies led to low-quality teaching being paid for the same way as better teaching was.

A set of awards handed out to universities and colleges yearly would also invite private institutions to develop further, leading to potentially less reliable degrees being distributed to students of new establishments.

The continued shift to funding through student tuition fees could see some universities fail, as higher education institutions are increasingly exposed to “open market competition”. The White Paper makes it clear that there will be no bail-outs for stuggling institutions, whose exit will make room for innovative new entrants to the higher education market.

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