tuition fees

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International Student Fees in the Spotlight

The cost of university fees for international students has been under discussion over the last week, after it emerged that some students will be paying up to £35,000 a year to study in the UK from September. However, despite this huge cost, it has been revealed that the UK is not the most expensive place to study for overseas students.

The Complete University Guide surveyed 110 universities across the UK and the results were predictably startling, with international students being charged up to four times as much as home and EU students.

Though international undergraduate fees start at just £7,450 for lecture based courses, the annual cost goes as high as £35,000 for medical degrees at King's College London. Indeed, undergraduate medical fees are over £30,000 at a number of universities including UCL, Sheffield, Southampton, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Cambridge.

There is a similar range of costs for postgraduate students, with international students being charged anything from £7,900 to a massive £38,500 (for postgraduate medical students at Queen Mary University London).

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EU Students Owe £50m in Unpaid Tuition Fees

Figures have emerged that show EU students owe the UK government £50 million in unpaid tuition fees. In response, the Student Loans Company (SLC) have taken a hard line, hiring private investigators to track down graduates overseas who still owe money.

Students from Cyprus are the worst offenders, borrowing the most from the government in the last five years, and still owe £15m now.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said:

"The overwhelming majority of overseas borrowers are honest and want to repay the loans they have received. However all borrowers need to know that they cannot evade their obligation to repay simply by moving overseas. We actively trace those in arrears and will obtain court orders in other jurisdictions to require repayment if necessary."

The majority of those who haven't paid what they owe have moved back abroad after their studies. Once graduates start earning a higher salary than the threshold, they should start repaying their tuition fee loans regardless of where in the world they are living. However, it is those who ignore this that the SLC are now trying to track down.

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Students March Against Tuition Fees

The latest large-scale student protest took place yesterday. Organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), thousands of students marched through the streets of London to protest about increased tuition fees.

The protest was largely peaceful and ‘good humoured' with only a brief stand-off between police and protestors at Westminster. NUS leader Liam Burns explained the reasons behind the demo:

"Education should open doors, but the government is slamming them shut...The damaging effects of recent changes to education have restricted access for future students and created new barriers for those currently studying."

However, the march didn't go completely to plan for the NUS, who were hoping for 10,000 marchers, rather than the 3,000-4,000 that actually turned up. Things got worse for Liam Burns when he was heckled and had eggs thrown at him whilst he was making his speech. Protestors from more extreme organisations were unhappy with how the NUS leaders had dealt with the increased fees, and invaded the stage before the speech could be finished.

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Official University Comparison Website Launched

A new tool for students looking to study at British universities was unveiled today, which provides all the vital information needed. The government backed website Unistats has details on every single one of the 31,000 higher education courses in the UK, including how much they will cost, the teaching hours involved and the likely salary graduates will earn.

The website is the latest attempt to promote British universities and help students decipher all the recent changes to tuition fees. This year university applications were down for the first time in years, as the higher tuition fees came in to play. The government hopes that the comprehensive and easily understandable information will encourage those prospective students who have been put off by the confusion of the last year or so. The thinking is, if you are going to be paying £9,000 a year for a course, you want to know exactly what you're getting before you apply.

The Higher Education Funding Council has provided the information for every course in the UK, helping future students find:

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University Applications Fall: The Statistics Explained

The final figures for applications to British universities were released yesterday, revealing an expected drop in student numbers. There was a 7.4% decrease in applications since last year, with overall numbers dropping to 540,000. However, whilst many of the statistics make grim reading fro British universities, the report revealed that non-EU international numbers actually increased by a massive 13.7%.

With the deadline for UK and EU students passing last week, the report by university admissions organisation UCAS was eagerly awaited. Next year is the first year of increased tuition fees, and many experts were predicting huge falls in applications. However, in the end, although there was a significant drop, the figures were not as alarming as many of these estimates had predicted.

Indeed, a number of important figures in UK Higher Education were actually quite optimistic. Universities UK pointed out that the "dip is far less dramatic than many were initially predicting", whilst Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of leading universities, explained:

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