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2012 university fees uncertain

22 August 2011

​Government officers from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have been informed by UK authorities that the new regulations governing university tuition fees mean that each university is now a commercial undertaking under competition law. This effectively makes it illegal for universities to act collectively to establish a common tuition fee for the Islands.

In previous years a common Islands tuition fee was negotiated between Island representatives and the representative body for UK universities, Universities UK (UUK). For students entering university in 2012, however, UUK has been advised that a continuation of this practice would put them at risk of breaking the law.

The UK government’s stance on this matter has surprised universities, many of whom expected to be told the outcomes of discussions with UUK in the traditional way.

Although fee levels for Jersey students have been agreed for September 2011, this change in policy creates potential uncertainty for students hoping to enter university in September 2012, as they could be making applications without full knowledge of the costs.

In an attempt to avoid this, officers from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have begun to talk individually with a representative sample of universities which our students attend. The aim is to forge agreements with individual universities to ensure that the tuition fee charged to Island students is no more than would be charged to a UK student for an identical course.

The Director of Education, Sport and Culture, Mario Lundy, said "This latest UK government ruling has set our discussions back. Whilst we want to give students and parents certainty about the future costs of higher education as soon as possible, we now have to negotiate separately with each university rather than a single body as in past years. Fortunately, initial discussions with some universities have given cause for optimism, and dialogue with a good cross section of universities popular with Jersey students will continue throughout September."​

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