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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 21:49 GMT
Fees review plan unveiled
Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke is trying to reassure potential rebels
Education Secretary Charles Clarke has spelt out details of the independent review of top-up fees which will happen three years after their introduction.

The review is one of the measures designed to reassure Labour MPs worried about the consequences of the government's fee plans.

If the proposals are approved by Parliament, from 2006 universities will be able to charge up to 3,000-a-year, payable when graduates start earning 15,000.

The review commission would report to Parliament on the impact of the fees and Mr Clarke said it would cover three main areas:

  • The impact of the package on universities: including how fees have varied; how the extra money has been used; the way bursaries have been funded; the effect on course take-up; how different types of university have been affected.

  • The impact on students and prospective students: including application levels; how the poorest and better-off students have been affected; the quality of teaching; drop-out rates; debt levels; patterns for graduates' jobs, especially public service recruitment.

  • Future policy: including whether there should be changes to the 3,000 cap on fees; improvements for the student support package to ensure help for the poorest families.
Mr Clarke said he would expect the review commission to work with the new Office for Fair Access regulator on its findings.

"The government will consider any report before submitting any recommendation to the House on raising the upper limit of the tuition fee," he said.

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