Leeds University rapped over fees rise

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a Leeds University lecturers’ leader says they may soon be unable to afford to send their own children to the university.

Professor Malcolm Povey of the University and College Union was speaking after it was revealed that the University of Leeds plans to impose the maximum tuition fee of £9,000 a term on 32,000 students.

“This is a retrograde step which will make higher education a more exclusive province of the privileged,” he said, adding this was already happening.

“As a member of university staff I wonder how we will be able to afford for our children to attend the university at which we teach. It cannot be justified.

“The logic of setting up this pseudo-market is that everybody is driven towards charging the highest fee. That was fairly predictable. Students will make judgements. Because this is now a market and a commodity, if the fee is lower they will think it is inferior.”

He said that the university was being hit by an 80 per cent cut in its teaching grant from the Government, and a loss of £80m in funding for science subjects.

“The bottom line is that certain institutions will not survive,” he said.

The £9,000 a year fee at Leeds is expected to be introduced next year. Fees for a three-year degree course at Leeds will be £27,000.

It is expected to be given the final go-ahead at a meeting of the University’s governing Council on March 31.

The university will have to submit a “special case” to the Government’s Office of Fair Access because it plans to charge students more than £6,000 a year. Members of Parliament voted to allow universities to increase fees to £9,000 a year in only “exceptional circumstances”.