Student’s fears as uni signals it wants higher fees

Sam Turton was one of the protesters against tuition fees

Sam Turton was one of the protesters against tuition fees

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A Manx student has expressed concerns about tuition fees after the vice-chancellor of Oxford University said that leading colleges should be allowed to raise their tuition fees to meet the true costs of educating their students.

Professor Andrew Hamilton last week said that Oxford’s ‘world class educational system’ is being jeopardised by an annual shortfall of £70m.

Student Sam Turton, 18, from Onchan and studying at Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘If the top UK university is saying that the current level of £9,000 is unsustainable in the long term and that they face £70million a year funding gap, then this can only lead to an increase in tuition fees for UK students which will surely in turn lead to the price forManx students rising as well.

‘As the government’s current stance is that they will pay no more than £9,000 per annum, any rise in fees would present new challenges.

‘Students in the UK, it is true, incur far higher debt, however they have easier opportunity to study closer to home and at the very least a possibility something will change dependent on the 2015 General Election.’

Martin Barrow, director for the Department of Education and Children, said: ‘The department is aware that the Chancellor of Oxford University has called for the £9,000 cap on university tuition fees to be lifted with a view to the university charging fees of up to £16,000.

‘Obviously if this were to happen it would have an impact on students from the island. However, it is also clear from what was being reported that the English Government is unlikely to respond to such a call before the next UK General Election and it would be for future UK government to make any decision about fee structures.

‘On that basis it is far too early, and the potential outcome too unclear, for the department to be able to predict what impact such a move would have on the two or three students on average each year who attend Oxford University from the island.

‘We will continue to monitor the situation and aim to ensure that potential students are kept informed, of any impact which may affect them, as the situation develops over the next two to three years.’

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