Part-Time Students' Tuition Fees Could Soar
Byline: LAURA CLARK
HUNDREDS of thousands of part-time students face an unlimited rise in their tuition fees.
Ministers announced yesterday that there will be no limit on what universities can charge for part-time courses, even though fees for fulltime courses will be capped.
It means Britain's half-a-million part-time students - who often combine their studies with a job or raising a family - could see their fees rise way above the current average of [pounds sterling]3,000 for a six-year course.
More money will be made available to help the poorest students cope, said the Government.
But there were fears last night that the grants would still not be enough and giving universities carte blanche to increase fees would deter millions of people from taking a part-time degree.
A radical shake-up of university funding next September will allow universities to increase fees for fulltime students from [pounds sterling]1,175a-year to a maximum of [pounds sterling]3,000a-year.
Part-timers currently pay an average of [pounds sterling]500 a year, although some institutions charge [pounds sterling]750 or more.
Under the funding arrangements announced yesterday, grants to offset part-time fees will rise from a maximum of [pounds sterling]590 to [pounds sterling]750 for those who study 'halftime'. For those studying 75 per cent of the time, the grant will rise from [pounds sterling]885 to [pounds sterling]1,125.
Students with a household income of less than [pounds sterling]23,000 will be entitled to some grant aid.
Higher education minister Bill Rammell said the extra money should give universities 'confidence' to charge higher fees without deterring the poorest. …