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The Secretary of State for Education and Skills has recently announced that tuition fees for home and EU undergraduate students who started a relevant course before 1 September 2006 or who had deferred entry to the course from an earlier year will rise to £1,200 for the academical year 2006-07.
From the start of the academical year 2006-07 the Higher Education Act 2004 permits universities to charge home and EU undergraduates higher ('variable') fees (students remain liable to the University for their fees but they will not pay fees 'up front': instead the UK Government will pay these fees to the universities and then reclaim them from former students, after certain income thresholds had been reached). By Grace 1 of 1 December 2005 the University approved, for students who started a relevant course (i.e. one for which the fee category was A to C in the schedule appended to the regulations for University Composition Fees) on 1 September 2006 or later, and who had not deferred entry to the course from an earlier year, a University Composition Fee that was the higher amount permitted under Part 3 of the Act. For 2006-07 this amount is £3,000. Charging this fee is subject to approval of an access agreement by the Director of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA); the University's access agreement was approved by the Director in March 2005.
For home and EU postgraduate students for the academical year 2006-07 the Secretary of State has recommended an inflation increase of 2.5% on 2005-06 fees. The Council have agreed to propose a rate of increase for these students for 2006-07 that reflects that recommendation and guidance offered by the Research Councils. Approval was given by Grace 1 of 23 February 2005 for fees for overseas students in 2006-07 to be increased by 2% over an expected inflation amount of 2.5%. The Council have agreed to propose that, for the year 2007-08, fees for overseas students should be increased by the inflation amount only and that this should be taken as 2.5%.
The Board of Graduate Studies and the General Board have recently received the first proposal for a differential fee to be paid for a taught M.Phil. course. In their Joint Report on University Composition Fee rates for the M.Phil. Degree and certain other postgraduate qualifications (Reporter, 2004-05, p. 516) the Council and the General Board set out the requirements to be met before any proposals could be submitted to the Regent House for approval (para. 9):
9. The central bodies intend, in the event that this Report is approved, that institutions seeking to charge a differential fee should be required to make a case for consideration by representatives of the Council of the relevant School, the Board of Graduate Studies (where the course requires registration as a Graduate Student), and the central bodies. The case must be made in advance of the annual admissions cycle so that applicants have clear information about course costs. The case will need to demonstrate that the proposed fee level will reflect actual course costs but will continue to allow for the admission of those most academically qualified. In instances where studentship providers (including the Research Councils, the Colleges, and the Cambridge Trusts) expect to pay the University Composition Fee at the standard rate, the institutions will need to demonstrate how the difference between the two rates will be met through scholarship or bursary schemes. The central bodies will pay particular attention, before promoting the necessary Grace, to ensuring that admissions standards will not be compromised and that the institution has in place particularly effective quality assurance procedures so that student expectations of the quality of the programme can be properly met.
The recommendations in the Joint Report were approved by the University by Grace 7 of 20 April 2005.
The Faculty Board of Economics have now submitted a proposal that, from 1 September 2007, the fee for the course in Economics for the M.Phil. Degree for home and EU students should be £7,000 and that for overseas students should be £12,400. The proposal has been scrutinized by the Council of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Board of Graduate Studies, and the General Board who have recommended to the Council that the Faculty Board have met the requirements of the Joint Report.
The Council are accordingly submitting a Grace to the Regent House (Grace 1, p. 489) for the approval of the changes to the Table of Fees which result from their proposals in this Notice.
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Cambridge University Reporter 15 March 2006
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