Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has slammed Theresa May’s latest university tuition fee proposals, as measures that would take us “out of the frying pan, into the fire.” The proposals, which suggest a fee discrepancy between cheaper-to-run courses in the arts and humanities subjects, and STEM subjects which are more expensive to facilitate. 

Tuition fees, currently capped at £9250 a year for undergraduate degrees, would vary between departments, with a lower cap on arts and humanities courses. Education Secretary Damian Hinds has argued for ‘more variety’ in the level of fees charged; currently, almost all universities and courses charge the maximum level. Theresa May has announced a review into university fees, funding and students support. 

Mr Zeichner said: “There’s already a black hole in the Tories’ tuition fee model, and this will do nothing but make it worse. Unlike Labour’s plans, which will see tuition fees abolished and paid for through increased corporation tax, the Tories have been very quiet about where the money would come from to make up the gap between fees currently charged, and the cut in fees they’re suggesting. This equates to a direct and damaging cut to university income; in an uncertain time, shadowed by Brexit and worried about university funding research, this will not be welcomed by the sector.”

“The concept of charging less for cheaper courses is very damaging and discriminatory – it creates disparity in the state’s idea of the value of different disciplines. We have been trying to get more people into STEM courses; it is completely illogical to make those courses more expensive when considering the skills the country needs. Of course, any cuts to widening participation budgets would be fundamentally wrong.”

“We’ve seen recently how much money is lost to the economy, and to our universities, through May’s ridiculous war on foreign students; she is making it less attractive for foreign students to study here so she can pretend she’s taking action on immigration, though this is completely the wrong way to do it. By costing the country around £20 billion through this – I think we need some real answers about the Tories’ war on the young. They’ve realised that their actions have consequences, and they’ll lose young voters. This policy mess is the result of blind panic; we need a Labour government to install a sustainable system to ensure the future of our universities is secure. 

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