In a Question and Answer Session with Imperial?s Rector, Sir Roy Anderson, staff were told to expect to see an increase of tuition fees of double or triple the current rate. In answer to a question from the floor the Rector described the future of tution fees as being in the region of £6,000-£9,000 with Universities taking advantage of the true market, charging different amounts for different courses. He said home and EU students were a financial burden on universities saying ?We lose money on these [home and EU students] and the comparison between the overseas fee and the home fee is far too wide?.
Overseas students currently pay £15,500 while home students pay £3,225. The Rector defended the increase saying that they would have to be accompanied by an increase in the number of scholarships given to ?students who come from less wealthy backgrounds?. He said that Imperial would have to ?find ways of supporting? less well off students by generating a ?significant body of fellowships and scholarships? like American universities.
The Rector had previously told felix that he expected Tuition Fees to rise but did not want to see them in excess of £10,000. Today?s announcement remains in line with these figues but could see them at the top end of the £10,000 mark.
A University & Colleges Union (UCU) poll in 2008 showed that 55% of British adults wanted a university system that was completely free but the Rectors comments come at a time of financial uncertainty for Imperial as it has just lost out on £15m of state research.
Imperial?s previous Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, was one of the biggest advocates of £15,000 tuition fees at their conception, but backed down on the issue in 2006 telling Students attending an event in the Union Dining Hall in Beit Quad that he would not want to see tuition fees in excess of £5,000. In the absence of any other Sabbatical Officers, DPFS Christian Carter, commented "I agree with this decision whole-heartedly".
Yesterday's Question and Answer session took place in the Great Hall with overflow space in the Pippard Lecture Theatre. The event was streamed live online by College Comunications. A video of the event can be found on the Rector's Home Page. Live! agrees that the difference between Home and Overseas student fees is excessive but wonders why the gap must be closed by increasing one rather than decreasing the other.