Northumbria University Announce Fees Of £8500 From 2012

Northumbria University is the latest in the region to announce an increase in their fees, they propose to charge £8500 from 2012.

This follows announcements by Newcastle and Durham universities who plan to charge £9000, the highest possible level, and Teesside who have said they will charge £8500.

After MP's voted to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 in "exceptional circumstances" from 2012 at the end of last year, most universities are now grouping around the maximum allowed.

Professor Andrew Wathey, Northumbria university's vice-chancellor, said:  "Today's decisions reinforce the university's long-term and long-standing commitment to continuous improvement across all of its activities and will help ensure that it is strongly placed to respond to the opportunities and challenges ahead, and will continue to educate the leaders and entrepreneurs of the future."

Meanwhile Newcastle's vice-chancellor, Professor Chris Brink, said he was confident the higher fees would not "put off" potential students, despite the university planning to charge the maximum amount.

He added: "Newcastle University is a modern civic university with a proud tradition, committed to world-class academic excellence.

"We want to continue to attract the brightest and best students from all backgrounds to study here.

"We are planning to build on our existing wide range of activities to promote fair access, which will include a generous package of support to ensure that students will not be put off applying to us for financial reasons."

The proposed higher fees have raised concerns about would-be students being put-off higher education by the prospect of graduating with a large debt, although Nottingham University claims it's had a 48% increase in the number of people attending it's open days.

The following universities in the North East have announed their proposed fee increases:

Durham University - £9000
Newcastle University - £9000
Northumbria University - £8500
Teesside University - £8500

The decision by universities to charge the maximum amount possible could affect their funding from the Government, with ministers warning that if the majority set fees at or close to the maximum then they will face further cuts to funding and student places.

Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, said: ``When the Government forced these ill-considered plans through Parliament, they claimed that fees above £6,000 would be the exception rather than the rule, but that was quite clearly a pipe dream.

``Ministers have claimed that Offa has the power to regulate fees, when in reality this process is nothing more than one of rubberstamping vice chancellors' attempts to charge as much as they can get away with. With no one to stop them, universities are rushing to charge the maximum £9,000.''