Plans to reduce current university fees in UK from £9,250 down to £6,500 to resident students has made the news headline in the past days in UK as the number of enrolled students has flattened in recent years, reports Studying-in-UK.org.

As of January 2018, the number of people applying for undergraduate courses in UK universities decreased by around 1% compared to the previous year, according to UCAS. In recent years, the numbers show that enrollment in UK universities has either been flattened or declined a bit. This caused an urge of open calls for actions from university representatives and other parties involved in higher education to UK government.

Despite public appeals of education experts for revising university fees until recently May’s cabinet remained firm on their position: University fees in UK won’t reduce.

Amid continual criticism coming from all sides, be it from higher education experts, politicians and students and their political opponents who promised a complete abolishment of higher education fees for home students, the UK government seems to have finally taken into consideration these requests giving signals that it will reduce university fees.

A commission of higher education experts created by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, came with a proposal to cut university fees for undergraduate courses by around one-third to attract more students to enter higher education.

Under this change, home students will have to pay up to £6,500 instead of £9,250 as they currently do per an academic year at UK universities. According to the commission’s report, this plan won’t apply for science and medicine courses.

This news has sparked a debate amid different sides involved in the UK’s higher education many casting doubts if this move will bring the much-coveted effect, the enrollment growth in UK and the nation’s treasury will afford it.

If this change really happens, how much can a university degree in the UK cost to a home student and how much to the country’s budget?

Everyone had their talk about this, so it’s time to let the numbers speak.

By now, is a complete no-brainer that UK higher education is amongst the best in the world but doesn’t come cheap.

A governmental decision being amended in 2017, allowed universities in England to charge home students with fees capping at £9,250 per an academic year, the highest ever at UK universities. Tuition fees for international students were way higher than this, as you can guess it. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland universities, on the other hand, continue to apply lower fees.

A typical undergraduate course in the UK lasts for three years, meaning an England’s resident will have to spend around £27,500 at maximum to cover the course fees.

Thus, financially speaking, seeking higher education in UK is a hard (though totally worth) mission to accomplish.

With the new fee policy likely to be introduced, an undergraduate student in England, attending a course rather than in science or medicine, can expect to have a debt of around £19,500 at maximum by the end of the course.

Note that if in UK fast-track study programs are very popular, partly because it turns to cost less. If you’re attending such course it can cost you around £16,000.

How much will the reduced fees cost the UK’s budget?

Tuition fees remain the largest contributor to universities’ budgets in UK. Those who are positioned against this plan point out the impact this change can have in the UK’s budget.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) as of the 2016/17 academic year, there was a number of 2,317,880 students attending UK universities. These students bring a lot of economic profit to the UK’s budget. Based on a study carried out by the UK Universities last year, these students bring an economic profit of nearly 100 billion to the UK’s economy.

As of 2016/17, UK universities collected an income of £35.7 billion altogether. Statistically, tuition fees contributed to 50% of these earnings, or to around £18 billion so to say. With tuition fees being reduced by around one-third and taking into consideration the fact that home students share the majority of enrolled students, this plan to UK universities will cost to a drop of around 20% of their annual income. A loss of 20% of their financial gains means a gap of £3.5 billion in their current budget which needs to be covered by the UK Government funds.

Unfortunately, these changes won’t apply to international students and the cost of studying as a foreigner will still remain higher. However, UK universities remain some of the most popular destinations for seeking higher education valued for their global reputation and their excellence in teaching and innovation. However, in light of current trends in the international education market, these universities are struggling to maintain their reputation amid home and foreign students.

Official statistics show that the number of enrolled students in UK universities has been flattened in recent years, as opposed to other rivals in the international market, the likes of Australia and Canada where the number of students is steadily increasing. Earlier in this year, reports covering education statistics claimed that UK has actually lost its global ranking as the world’s second frequent study destination to Australia and Canada.

But international students were not the only one group of students in UK affected by this inefficiency of UK authorities to protect the reputation of British universities. Home students were also subject to unilateral changes in fee policies causing them to consider working in front of seeking higher education.

While there are several factors amounting to this issue, including here stringent student visa policies, limited bursary schemes and so on, the cost of seeking a degree in UK is surely a major one, as it can be seen from the information being presented above.

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