STUDENTS from the island wanting to study at two of the UK’s top institutions could be left with an expensive bill to pay.
At the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, students from the Isle of Man – as well as others from outside the UK and EU – have to pay an additional ‘college fee’ on top of tuition and accommodation fees.
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It could be a double blow to prospective students of the University of Cambridge. Islands students – those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man – will be charged tuition fees at the overseas rate in 2013-14.
Parents have expressed concern about the changes. At present, the ‘college fee’ at Cambridge is £4,500-£5,500 per year, while at Oxford it is about £6,200 per year.
In the past, the Department of Education and Children has paid the ‘college fee’ on a discretionary basis allowed by the regulations.
A department spokesman said it will be paying the fees for students starting courses in September 2012 ‘on the basis that the commitment had to be made prior to Tynwald approval of the regulations earlier this year’.
But the DEC has said it doesn’t expect, at present, to be able to meet the fee for the academic year 2013/14.
A DEC spokesman said: ‘Regulations governing student awards are reviewed annually and it won’t be until spring 2013 that those governing the academic year 2013/14 are put before Tynwald but we don’t, at present, expect to be able to meet the extra “college fees” imposed by Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
‘Nevertheless, the situation with regard to university tuition fees continues to be monitored and developments will be subject to regular review.’
The spokesman added that ‘further consideration will be given to support for the fees in the development of policy options for student support in 2013’. At present, tuition fees at Cambridge start at £13,011 per year for courses such as English, history and law.
A DEC spokesman said: ‘The Isle of Man Government continues to meet the vast majority of the cost of higher education for our students, including tuition fees up to £9,000 a year for three-year degrees – and above that for more expensive courses in clinical medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and conservatoire music.
‘The University of Cambridge has indicated it will be charging overseas rates of tuition fees for new island students starting courses from September 2013. This is similar to the policy adopted by Imperial College in London, which has insisted on charging the higher overseas student rate for island students for a number of years.
‘The department’s policy in response to this has always been to advise students that fees support is limited to that provided in the regulations.’
There is no indication that Oxford will charge island students the overseas rate at this stage.
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