Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home News KCL Vice Chancellor proposes radical nationwide tuition fee restructuring

KCL Vice Chancellor proposes radical nationwide tuition fee restructuring

Felix Massey writes on Professor Kapur's new proposal
3 mins read
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Image via Mastersportal.eu, Wikimedia Commons

Professor Shitij Kapur, vice-chancellor and president of King’s College London, has argued that the tuition fee system in the UK is in radical need of change in order to become fairer for students who take on debt, and for universities who face rising costs. The comments from Kapur come at a time where the debate over policies regarding international students and the amounts they contribute in tuition are under scrutiny.

According to a 2023 Guardian article, one fifth of universities’ income comes from overseas students, particularly those from China and India, and Professor Kapur has said that differentiated fees for UK students based on your course could be part of the solution to over-reliance on these international fees. For example, Kapur stated that “a nurse and a dentist who graduate in England pay essentially the same for their education – even though the cost of educating the latter is much greater”, and that two students may graduate with the same amount of debt despite a difference in the cost of delivering the education and training, obviously changing based on course length. Canada’s system was also raised as a model that the UK could follow, with domestic tuition being CA$6,000 for nursing students and CA$23,000 for dentists, reflecting training costs and future earnings.

a nurse and a dentist who graduate in England pay essentially the same for their education – even though the cost of educating the latter is much greater

Professor Kapur

However, some have disagreed that courses should be charged different fees. A 2018 report from the Higher Education Policy Institute showed that approximately two-thirds of students (63%) believe that the costs for all full-time undergraduate courses should be the same, while 33% disagree. Furthermore, just 7% believed that greater fees for the arts, such as history or English, may be justified, compared to 52% who thought that higher rates for medicine might be justified.

Kapur also warned about the need to anticipate and plan for the rise in home applicants, which is expected to grow to 131,000 additional 18-year-old school and college leavers by 2030, which could put a strain on university capacity. At the same time, UK students are facing rising debt issues, with over 90% taking out loans, and an average debt upon graduation of £45,600, compared to just $28,400 in the US. Concurrently, many students have voiced that they feel dissatisfied with their current value for money from tuition, even before any rises might be considered, according to an NUS document.

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