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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Rebel university sets maximum fee
Dr Mike Goldstein
Dr Goldstein promised to help poorer students
A university which criticised government plans for higher student tuition fees in England has decided to set the maximum 3,000 cost for all courses.

Earlier this year, Coventry University said legislation introducing "variable" tuition fees for students was a "quite appalling" muddle.

Vice-chancellor Mike Goldstein said it could create a "two-tier" system, benefiting prestigious universities.

But the government's plans have since passed into law.

Coventry said it had carried out "extensive research" before setting the higher fee.

'Pumping money back'

The new fee system, in place from 2006, will allow English universities to charge between nothing and 3,000 a year for undergraduate courses - and it replaces the current flat rate of 1,125 a year.

In the arguments over the higher tuition fees, it was claimed that some universities might not set fees at the maximum amount for all courses - and that students would not necessarily always face the full charge of 3,000.

But the decision by Coventry University, which was a signatory to a letter calling for a re-think of the fees plan, will be seen as an indication that there are unlikely to be many courses which do not charge students the full amount.

Coventry University said that charge a flat rate of 3,000 for all courses would ensure "certain courses were not seen as more 'exclusive' than others".

The university said its decision followed "extensive research" and the extra money would be "pumped back into generous scholarship and bursary schemes".

Opponents of higher fees have warned that graduates could be left with 20,000 to 30,000 of debt.

However, Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, has been a prominent supporter of the plans for higher fees.

Dr Goldstein said: "Coventry University has already sought to ensure that well-qualified students are not put off coming to university because of the burden of debt."

He added: "We all recognise that concerns about debt affect students from all backgrounds, so we are determined to take some of this worry away from them.

"While our scholarship scheme gives encouragement for the achievement of excellence, our bursary scheme will go further.

"It will both reinforce and complement the Government's new grant scheme, and relieve the financial burden on a wide range of students."

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