London Met set to be first university charging lower fees
21 Mar 2011
London Metropolitan University is set to become the first university in England to set its fees below the £9,000 maximum permitted from 2012.
The university is planning to charge differential fee rates according to the subjects students choose to study, with fees ranging from £4,500 to £9,000.
A spokesman for London Met told me that 'most courses will charge around £6,000 with a handful and £4,500 and just a couple at the maximum of £9,000'. The top end fees are likely to be charged for science- and technology-based courses. The cheaper courses are likely to be business-related degrees.
The broad principle of the charging policy was approved by the university's board of governors last week and is expected to be confirmed in the next couple of weeks.
The university has been strongly influenced by its vice-Chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, who is currently restructuring the institution's whole undergraduate curriculum. As an Australian, he previously worked in a system where differential bands of fees are charged according to the subject studied.
Jonathan Woodhead, Executive Officer to the Vice Chancellor, said: 'We're very keen on social responsibility and we don't want to get students into debt, so we are looking at what is affordable and high quality at the same time'.
The government will be greatly relieved at the news that not all universities are planning to charge the maximum level permitted. So far all six of the universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter, Durham, Surrey and Imperial College) that have formally announced their fee decisions have said they will charge £9,000 across all subjects.
London Met is understood to have been influenced by the fact that many of its students come from poorer parts of London, with a large proportion staying at home to study. There is also strong competition in their neighbourhood, including from private providers such as BPP and the College of Law.