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Universities advertise increased fees despite parliament not yet agreeing

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Universities in England have advertised increased tuition fees – despite the fact that legislation to ease the £9,000 cap has not yet been debated by parliament.

The Universities of Kent and Durham have published inflationary tuition fees at £9,250 per year on their website for students beginning their studies in the 2017/2018 academic year. Royal Holloway has also attached a warning that fees will be raised to £9,250 for the 2017 cohort, subject to government approval.

The provisions set out in the Higher Education and Research Bill include allowing universities to increase tuition fees if they meet the criteria of a new Teaching Excellence Framework. However, the bill is not scheduled to be debated until the autumn of this year.

Other universities have listed their fees at £9,000, but may also increase their fees in line with inflation.

Sorana Vieru, Vice President of the National Union of Students, said the introduction of £9,000 fees "has not driven up quality or sustainably funded institutions as promised," as quoted by The Telegraph.

“We are disappointed to see some universities are pushing ahead with these changes rather than fighting back against the reforms and a funding system that clearly doesn't suit the needs of the sector and students. It is frustrating to learn universities were lobbying the minister for the fee rise before the reforms were published.”

At the second reading of the Bill this week, Education Secretary Justine Greening defended the proposals, claiming they would "create a level playing field" and increase competition for further education establishments. She told the Commons: “We do our young people a disservice if our system cannot be financed to create places for them.”

In a statement, Durham University said that the fee increase had only been posted after the university had been given confirmation from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that it would be eligible to do so. When contacted for comment, The University of Kent said it had published the higher fee on the website in order to “ensure that both potential students and existing students are provided with as much notice as possible and to comply with CMA guidelines.”

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