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Last Updated: Monday, 30 July 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
University fees fixed until 2009
John Denham
Universities can charge a maximum of 3,000 a year
University top-up fees will not go above 3,000 for the next two years at least, ministers have confirmed.

Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary John Denham told the Fabian Review he would not consider raising fees until 2009.

The pledge, in line with earlier promises, comes despite claims that universities need to raise the fees threshold to cover costs.

Mr Denham promised a major debate before any decision is made.

A survey of university heads earlier this year revealed that many believed that fees would have to rise to 6,000 to cover teaching costs.

Drop-out rates

Since September, the maximum allowed for tuition fees for universities in England has been 3,000.

This is index-linked - so will be 3,070 next year, for example - but is not otherwise set to go up.

The latest figures on student numbers in the last academic year showed the increased cost of a university education had not put off students.

But student debt is one of the factors cited in a rise in drop-out rates - with figures last week showing that one in five students starting a full-time university course in England is unlikely to complete it.

There are other patterns being altered by tuition fees and the cost of going to university - with a survey earlier this month showing that a third of students are planning to live at home with their family.

When Mr Denham took office in the new Innovation, Universities and Skills department, he announced an extension of the eligibility for grants for living costs - so that full grants would be available for students from families earning up to 25,000 per year.

A response from the Institute of Fiscal Studies argued that the funding would have been better spent on raising school standards - as that would allow more disadvantaged youngsters to enter higher education.

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14 Feb 07 |  Education

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