Liverpool John Moores University has announced that it will charge undergraduate students the maximum £9,000-a-year tuition fees from 2012.
The rise in fees from the current level of just over £3,000-a-year has come as a result of the cuts to higher education funding, as announced by the coalition Government last year.
LJMU Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Brown, has spoken to JMU Journalism following the announcement, and has insisted that the rise is unavoidable, admitting: "I don’t know what student demand is going to be, I don’t know whether people will come to university at all in the future. It’s a gamble for us and it’s a gamble for the Government as well. I can’t defend what the Government is doing."
He said: “The Government has changed their entire approach to higher education finance in ways that are particularly naive. I have no pleasure and the university has no pleasure in having to charge £9,000.
“If we charged £6,000 [the lowest figure suggested by the Government], we would lose £26 million, we’d be bankrupt, closed, and there would be no higher education here. If we charged £7,500 we would still be bankrupt," said Professor Brown, who pledged that LJMU degrees would be "life-changing".
LJMU has followed the lead of other universities across the
country by hiking fees to £9k, with the University of Liverpool
announcing the same increase earlier this month.
The £9,000 figure is the maximum that universities are allowed
to charge students in tuition fees per year after the Government
trebled the current cap in order to accommodate the deep
cuts that came as part of last year’s Comprehensive
The Vice Chancellor, who is set to retire from the role in
August, also reassured prospective students that any profit from
the hike will be reinvested into the university.
He said: “We have to charge the higher fees to cover our
costs but, at £9,000 there will be a small bit of income that
we will invest straight into the student experience.
“There will be a little bit more money going into sports facilities,
the students' union, more in education technology and more for
staff in the important areas to make sure that the experience we
give will be great.
“We will have bursaries for people from low-income families and the Government has further plans for bursaries for low-income families. The squeeze is on middle-income families. They get nothing and they traditionally send more people to universities than anybody else. People are going to have to take a really hard decision and ask is this going to be worth it.”
The announcement adds to what is already a massively uncertain future for universities, as institutions look to convince prospective students to still consider higher education, despite most degrees looking likely to leave them with at least £27,000 worth of debt.
Lily Rumsey, President of the Liverpool Students Union, has expressed her disappointment regarding the changes, but acknowledged that the university had been put in this position by the Government.
She said: “LSU is clear that as student financial contribution changes, so must the university. It will not be acceptable to continue as before, in terms of academic quality or student leadership. This is incredibly disappointing but not surprising to students, in Liverpool or across the UK, as more and more universities recover from brutal and unfair Government cuts by shifting financial responsibility to students.”
Of the 23 universities that have so far announced their intentions regarding fees, 18 have chosen to charge the maximum £9,000.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour Party leader Ed Milliband delivered a damning indictment of the coalition’s approach to higher education, suggesting that £9,000 will become "the rule, not the exception", stating that the Government has "miscalculated the level of tuition fees".
By Jonathan Birchall, Website Producer
More JMU Journalism stories
Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Brown said the degrees offered by LJMU would be "life-changing"