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Should UK universities set their own tuition fees?

As the debate over the cost of further education in the UK continues, a number of universities have stepped forward to ask the UK government to abolish the cap on tuition fees. As a consequence, the student union and other student bodies are suggesting that mortgage style debts of up to £40,000 could become commonplace amongst UK students in the future.

The current cap of £3,290 for students starting courses in 2010 is well below the level which universities believe is fair and there will be much debate in the short to medium term. While there is a need to ensure that the UK further education system is not starved of future investment there is also a need to ensure that students are not saddled with massive debts going forward. Finding this balance will be very difficult to say the least and we are set for a battle between the relevant parties.

The problem for the Conservative party is the fact that by increasing the cost of tuition in the UK we do move towards a potential elitist arrangement where only those with rich families are able to go through university. This is not a situation which David Cameron suggested in his election campaign and not one which would be welcomed by voters.

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