Is this a surprise? Given the choice would you rather have more money or less money? Fact is, you’re not often given the choice. But the universities have been, and three quarters have voted for ‘more, please'.
This is despite that fact that many of the institutions in or close to the £9,000 bracket have different reputations, locations, facilities, etc.
And the number of schools applying for the maximum will obviously be an embarrassment to the government, who had initially said that £9,000 fees would be exceptional.
But the worst thing is surely the impact this will have on levels of student debt. As someone who graduated before the £3,000 maximum came in, and who is still some way off paying for my student loan, I find the figures that new graduates will face mind boggling.
UEA is one of the schools that has set the highest possible tariff. Now, I know it’s a decent uni, but most of the school’s prestige comes from its strength in creative writing and associated courses. If I was considering setting out on a career as an author a starting debt of (at least) £27,000 would almost certainly force me to consider some kind of criminal moonlighting endeavour on the side.
The government has at least said today that many of the applications to charge the £9,000 rate could be turned down in a sort of ‘we give you an inch and you take a bleedin’ mile’ telling off. Watch this space.