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Uni fee drop would benefit Guernsey students

Uni fee drop would benefit Guernsey students

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Uni fee drop would benefit Guernsey students

Education, Sport & Culture have no plans to lower the grants they offer to university students even if the UK do go ahead and lower the cap to its tuition fees.

This means that if government does follow a landmark review's suggestion to lower the cap on fees, grants to Guernsey students will cover a larger proportion of their costs.

The recommendation was made nationally at the end of last month saying fees should be cut to £7,500 from £9,250, as part of a review commissioned by parliament. 

Following its release, Guernsey's Education Committee said it did not have any further views on the review because it 'has no control or influence over the tuition fees charged by UK universities'. 

Cambridge University

Different universities have different approaches to Guernsey. Cambridge (pictured) treats us as overseas, while Oxford does not. 

"In Guernsey, we do not have student loans but rather offer student grants, which are means tested on income, and in some cases, assets. The costs of Higher Education are met by the States and the student’s family. The maximum grant that a student can obtain from Guernsey for a standard 31 week course is £8,787 in maintenance, with tuition fees paid in full. If applications are successful, the minimum grant that students can receive is £100 towards fees, with many cases falling in between the minimum and maximum grants," a spokesperson for the committee said.

"Most Universities, and a few specialist music and drama colleges charge ‘Home Fees’ for Guernsey students. When a student attends these institutions, Student Finance will allow fees up to the ‘Home Fee’ rate, with the student and their families liable for any excess.

"If UK universities charged lower tuition fees and no other changes were made, States’ grants to students could inevitably cover a higher proportion of students’ university costs and of course this would be welcome." 

While many of the other parts of the proposals would not affect islanders, the reduction could have an impact.

Sir Charles Frossard House

Guernsey's university grants are means tested.

Guernsey's relationship with universities has evolved through recent years. Prior to 2012, student tuition fees for UK students were a little over £3,000 payable via a loan from the Student Loan Company. In addition, the UK Government granted the Universities vast sums of money for their students. At that time, Guernsey, Jersey and theIsle of Man paid the full economic cost for the tuition fees and these were known as ‘Island Fees’. These were differentiated based on the course and ranged from just over £6,000 to £20,000+.

In 2012, the UK Government allowed Universities to greatly increase student tuition fees to £9,000. Therefore UK students would be eligible to receive a loan from the Student Loan Company and subsequently the UK Government reduced their direct funding.

At that time Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man negotiated with the UK Universities and the vast majority of institutions agreed that Islands’ students would be charged the ‘Home Fee’ i.e. £9,000.

"Of course the CfESC would welcome UK Universities charging lower tuition fees, but is also mindful of the need to ensure that Universities continue to receive adequate levels of income to invest in their courses, research & facilities," the spokesperson added.

"In the UK, students receive loans in respect of their fees, which are now £9,250 in most establishments, and may also be entitled to receive a loan towards their maintenance costs. Once a student earns at least £25,000, the loans must be paid back. It isn’t uncommon for UK students to graduate with an outstanding loan in excess of £50,000."

Pictured top: Bath University, a popular choice for Guernsey students. 

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