The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Tuition fee reform announced at Manchester conference

Despite rumours that tuition frees were set to be cut at the Conservative Party conference, Theresa May instead announced a freeze

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Prime Minister Theresa May has announced several reforms to tuition fees at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester this week including a freeze in fee increases at the current rate of £9,250 a year.

However, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner MP said the new policy was “a desperate attempt by the Tories to kick the issue into the long grass.”

Students currently pay £9,250 a year towards their course fees, and most borrow this money through a loan from the Government.

May’s proposed changes would have this fee frozen at £9,250 a year, despite past intentions to raise fees by £250 to £9,500, in the academic year 2018-19.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, May announced that she also intends to raise fee repayment thresholds by £4,000, from the current benchmark of £21,000 per annum earnings to £25,000. Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, she stated that this would mean “£30 a month more money into graduates’ pockets.”

However, this change has been heavily criticised as it is likely to only apply to students and graduates who were able to take out the higher rate of student loans. This means that students who graduated earlier than

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, she stated that this would mean “£30 a month more money into graduates’ pockets.”

However, this change has been heavily criticised as this is likely to only apply to students and graduates who were able to take out the higher rate of student loans.

This means that students who graduated earlier than 2012, when the higher rate of loans introduced under David Cameron, are likely to have higher repayment levels even if they are on the same income threshold as more recent graduates with higher debt.

Many also criticise the plan, seeing it as an attempt to attract younger voters.

The snap election earlier this year suggested many young voters siding with Labour, argued partly due to Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to scrap tuition fees altogether.

In an interview in The Sun on the 1st of October, May stated she had “listened to (young people’s) concerns and we [Conservatives] are going to act to offer a fairer deal to students and young people.”