David Willetts to appear in Live Q&A with students on The Student Room


At 17:30 on Monday 29th November David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science and the man who announced the government plans to allow universities to charge students tuition fees up to £9,000  a year from 2012, will be taking part in a Live Q&A with students on The Student Room, the world’s largest student site.

With student tuition fees dominating the headlines due to a number of highly publicised protests across the country, we expect that students will have lots of questions for David Willetts regarding the future of their education. The live Q&A, titled Ask David Willetts, will take place in the University Funding Review forum on The Student Room and students will be able to post their questions prior to and during the debate.

A student who attended one of the national protests in London on Wednesday said

“I’d like to ask David Willetts if he thinks rushing through a parliamentary vote on tuition fees will stop the student protests?”

On 3rd November 2010 David Willetts announced the governments plans to allow universities to raise tuition fees, following review of the much debated report by Lord Browne, who appeared on The Student Room in October this year, on Higher Education Funding and Student Finance.

Key points of the government’s plans

  • Proposed £6,000 cap on fees, up from £3,290
  • Increased to £9,000 in ‘exceptional circumstances’
  • Students start paying back 9% once earnings are over £21,000, up from £15,000
  • Early repayment penalties
  • Maintenance grants for those with household incomes less than £25,000 will be £3,250, up from £2,900
  • Partial grant for those with a household income between £25,000 and £42,000

Common concerns

Many are worried that the plans will create a two tier system in higher education.

  • A survey by The Student Room shows that students from a high income background are less likely to change their plans for university than those from middle or lower income backgrounds
  • Only 58% of students are certain that a rise in fees won’t stop them going to university
  • 48% don’t know what they will do if they don’t go to university

Will students reject universities because of the cost of tuition rather than academic value.

  • The Student Room survey shows that students are more likely to compromise on the university they go to than change course
  • Less than 3% would change their course
  • 46% would change their preferred university
  • 18% would change both course and university

Full details of The Student Room survey – A report into how the Higher Education choices of UK students will be affected by the significant rise in tuition fees as recommended by the Browne Review