tuition fees

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Increase in International Student Applications

The latest university application figures for UK courses starting in 2012 have been revealed by UCAS, showing an increase in non-EU students. Whilst British and European applicants have fallen by 7.6% and 11% respectively, international student applications have risen by 13% compared to the same time last year.

With tuition fees tripling for UK and EU students from 2012 onwards, there has been a particular focus on application figures this year. The latest statistics show the number of undergraduate applications made by the middle of December 2011, and there are certainly some interesting changes since the same time in 2010.

EU and British Students Unsure

For EU students, the huge increases in fees have clearly had a negative impact. Applications to institutions in England, Ireland and Wales (all of which have fees of up to £9,000) have dropped by an average of almost 15%, whilst applicants to Scottish universities (which offer free tuition to EU students) have actually increased by 7.6%. This is matched by a similar trend in British students who also appear to be reluctant to apply with the increased fees.

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Student Fees Protest in London

Thousands of students turned out on the streets of London yesterday to protest against the increase to tuition fees. We went along to see what the atmosphere was like and to talk to a few of the protestors. Below will give you a feel of the rally: 



Overall, the protest was very peaceful, due at least in part to the huge police presence. There were some 4,000 police officers lining the route of the march, though only 24 arrests were made, mainly for minor offences. The number of protestors that turned up varies depending on who you believe, with the police estimating there were about 2,000, whilst the organisers claim that as many as 15,000 attended.  

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University Applications Fall

As new figures show that university applications for next year are down by 9%, a number of universities reveal they are considering dropping their fees to under £7,500.

Ever since the British government announced that university fees would be capped at £9,000 rather than £3,000 from 2012, experts have been predicting reduced student numbers. This theory has now been proven, with the latest figures from UCAS showing that overall university applications are 9% below last year's level.

However, whilst this headline figure shows a drop in applications overall, overseas applications have actually increased since this time last year. Whilst UK and EU students will be paying far more than previously, non-EU international fees have not significantly increased. This then explains why UK applications have dropped by 12% and international applications are staying strong.

Dropping 2012 Fees

Universities UK have been quick to challenge the figures, with chief executive Nicola Dandridge emphasising that "It's too early to read into these figures at the very start of the applications process". Despite this though, a number of universities are considering dropping their planned fees to attract more students.

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Universities Look to Cut Tuition Fees

A number of English universities are thinking about reducing their 2012 tuition fees following changes to Higher Education policy. The Office of Fair Access (Offa) revealed that around 12 institutions are looking to cut their fees from the maximum £9,000 to less than £7,500 per year.

The majority of English universities revealed earlier in the year that they will begin to charge the maximum £9,000 per year for courses starting in 2012 onwards. However, in an attempt to reduce this number, the government announced plans which benefit universities charging yearly fees of less than £7,500.

In its White Paper released in June, the government detailed how 20,000 students will be held back from across English universities. Any institution that charges average yearly fees of less than £7,500 will then be able to bid for these places.

Cutting EU Student Fees

Since this announcement, Offa, which makes sure universities provide enough opportunities for poorer students, have revealed that at least a dozen institutions have asked for advice about reducing their fees. The identity of these universities is unknown, but a spokesman from Offa said that the majority were currently planning to charge only just over the watershed £7,500 amount.

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The Future for International Students in the UK

Universities UK, the top representative body for higher education in the UK, today moved to dismiss a number of misconceptions about the visa and tuition fee changes being introduced in Britain. Foreign Students went to find out more.

The President of Universities UK, Professor Steve Smith, was joined by the head of the International and Europe Unit, Dr. Joanna Newman (above), in reassuring international students that they “are an essential part of the UK higher education system” and will remain so.

Indeed, despite the tightening of student visa regulations and the increase in Home/EU student tuitions fees, they fully expect the number of international students coming to the UK to continue rising, just as it has for the last decade. So why are they so sure of this?


Visa Changes

Professor Smith allayed fears that the changes to visa regulations will prevent international students from studying in the UK, instead suggesting that they will have “little or no consequence on legitimate international students”. The tightened rules will simply remove those people currently abusing the system by gaining student visas through fake private colleges.

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