University of Surrey announces £9k fee proposal for 2012

Thursday 17 March 2011

The University of Surrey proposes to set a tuition fee of £9k per year for Home/EU undergraduates starting programmes in all subject areas in 2012.

We select on merit and encourage applications from the broadest range of backgrounds and we have developed a new package of bursaries and fee waivers to continue to encourage applications from students from families with lower incomes. The new package of financial support measures will ensure that talent and potential are the only factors that dictate attendance at the University and that no-one is disadvantaged by their personal financial circumstances.  We have a strong record in providing targeted bursaries at the University of Surrey. We believe that fees must not be a disincentive for talented young people who are considering applying to university.

“Our priority is to safeguard the quality of the student experience that we offer to our students, ensuring that we continue to maintain our record of achieving the highest graduate employability rates in the UK. We are also committed to ensuring that Surrey offers significant additional financial support to those students who most need it so that admission to the University is based only on merit and not on the ability to afford a high quality education,” said Professor Christopher Snowden, Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey.

Changes to our fee levels reflect the Government’s decision to make substantial cuts in both annual teaching grants and capital grants.  We have to accommodate a cut of over 60% in our annual Government teaching grant and in addition a 70% cut in our annual Government capital teaching grant, whilst supporting students from low income families as part of our Access Programme. There are also uncertainties about the impact of proposed immigration policy which if implemented are very likely to reduce the number of international students studying at UK universities. Finally, uncertainty over the future allocation of student places and concern over the exact level of the remaining HEFCE funding for STEM subjects has added additional risk to the teaching income for UK universities."

The Fee proposals have been ratified by the Council of the University of Surrey at its meeting on 17 March 2011 and will be subject to the approval of fair access and widening participation arrangements outlined in our Access Agreement by the Office for Fair Access (OFAA).

Editors' Notes

Why is Surrey setting fees of £9000?
•We are taking steps to manage the loss of 63% of Government funding for teaching.
•Analysis indicates we need to charge an average fee of £9,000 to ensure we compensate for this and to maintain the quality of the student experience.
•We wish to avoid the very real danger that charging less than £9,000 will have a negative impact on the perception of our quality
•We need to cover the loss of £5m in 2011-12 in Government capital funding. In order to continue to invest therefore in the infrastructure that underpins a high quality student experience and financial sustainability, we need to generate income from tuition fees.
•Our fees need to be approved by OFFA and along with other universities charging over £6,000 we will need to have an approved ‘Access Agreement’.  This means  we need to commit additional expenditure to outreach and retention activities to support the widening participation agenda.
•We have also taken into account the risks that may come from;
–cuts in tier 4 visa numbers and a likely reduction in demand which could lead to a 20% drop in overseas students. The potential impact of this is around £3m.  
–deeper Government cuts in student numbers, teaching grants or research funding.

Will this level of fee discourage students from poorer background coming to the University of Surrey?
•The University has developed a new package of bursaries and fee waivers to continue to encourage applications from students from families with lower incomes. These are comprehensive and generous and will be set at a level that is higher than the nationally prescribed scholarship programme. This new package of financial support measures will ensure that talent and potential are the only factors that dictate attendance at the University of Surrey and that no-one is disadvantaged by their personal financial circumstances.  We have a strong record in providing targeted bursaries at Surrey and believe that fees must not be a disincentive for talented young people who are considering applying to University.

Are we adopting a bursary scheme rather than a fee waiver?
•The market research studies we have conducted indicated that applicants prefer to receive a cash bursary rather than a fee waiver. However we are still finalising the details of the scheme we’ll provide.

Will students receive help after their first year?
•Yes. The University will run a Surrey Bursary scheme which will target financial support to students for all years of study.

How will the changes affect student’s expectations of the service they receive from Surrey?
•It is realistic to assume that students will become ever-more conscious of the value of the investment they are making. We will continue to increase expenditure on the student experience and the infrastructure that supports it.  

Will the same fee be charged for every course?
•Yes

Will students need to pay the fees up front?
•No. As now, students would only start to pay back the fees after graduation and once their salary was above £21,000, rather than above £15,000 as is the case now. If they were not working or the salary was lower, they would not pay. Fees would be paid back over 30 years. On a graduate salary of £30,000 – fees repayment would be £68 per month, for example. There would be a real rate of interest on student loans; equivalent to the Government’s cost of borrowing (2.2%).  

Is the alteration to fees now law?
•The Government have changed the law to allow Universities to charge £9,000 per year.

Are there opportunities for part-time study funded by student loans?
•The Browne Review recommended up front support for the costs of learning would be extended to part-time students and the Government has agreed with this. Details of the scheme are still being finalised.

What will be the impact on the University of Surrey of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR)?
-The CSR said that there will be 40% cuts in overall University funding over a four year period.
-The CSR did not include any detail on the level of teaching grant to be cut other than to say that “universities will be able to increase graduate contributions, supported by Government loans, with a broadly offsetting reduction in the teaching grant.” The Government has announced that the University’s teaching grant will be cut by over 60 % over the next three years
-The Government have said that they are determined to manage the process of transition carefully by focusing the spending review savings towards the second half of the spending period
-The government has set it would ring fence the science budget, which in real terms, probably means a cut of 10% over the next 4 years. We do not know how that will filter down to individual universities at this stage.
-At Surrey, only 23% of our income comes directly from the Government through the funding council so we are less affected than many other universities. As a research-intensive university, much of our work and funding comes from business and research funders.
-The University of Surrey is in a strong financial position and we do not anticipate the cuts impacting on the quality of the student experience, if the increased fee cap is introduced.
-If the government creates an open market, then those institutions that have a strong reputation and provide a high quality student experience will be the most attractive option for students – Surrey is one of those. We have the highest graduate employability of any University in the UK.

Media Enquiries

Peter La, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: +44 (0)1483 689191, or Email mediarelations@surrey.ac.uk

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