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English university fees to average £8,507 a year

Tuition fees are set to rise again in England next year, with the average rising from £8,414 to £8,507 a year.

A new report from the Office for Fair Access (Offa) indicates that around three out of four institutions are planning to charge the maximum £9,000 a year for some or all of their courses.

All institutions will charge above the ‘basic fee’ level of £6,000 a year, with the average for higher education courses £8,615 and further education institutions providing degree courses for £6,429.

Figures from the Ucas admissions service showed a 10% fall in applications fromEngland– but there was only a marginal fall in the most disadvantaged areas.

Greater competition for places for top-scoring students could lead to some universities changing their fee levels, the report suggests.

Offa’s director, Sir Martin Harris, said: “It may be that some universities and colleges may have to revisit the relatively high fees that they currently feel able to charge.”

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU lecturers’ union said: “When pushing higher fees through Parliament ministers promised that fees above £6,000 would be the exception rather than rule.

“Today’s figures confirm our more accurate prediction that fees closer to the maximum of £9,000 a year would in fact be the norm.”

But business secretary Vince Cable said: “The Government is determined that no-one with the ambition and ability, whatever their background, should come up against barriers to accessing higher education.”

And universities minister David Willetts added: “Applications from students from disadvantaged backgrounds for 2012 entry are holding up well. Now we want more progress in widening access and improving retention.”

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