High hopes for University of East Anglia despite �9,000-a-year tuition fee hike

Hopes are high that the University of East Anglia will improve its student experience after plans were revealed plans to charge �9,000 a year tuition fees.

Vice-chancellor Prof Edward Acton this week revealed that the UEA would join the growing throng of universities wanting to charge the maximum sum in tuition fees from September 2012.

He said the move was 'necessary' to enable the UEA to improve its position in the top 20 of Britain's higher education institutions and to protect and enhance its student experience and quality of education.

Tom Dolton, communications officer, for the Student Union at the UEA, said they were 'disappointed' with the proposed �9,000-a-year fees.

He said: 'Whilst we reiterate our stance on free education, we are confident that the targets and processes the university has put in place will ensure the continuing improvement of the student experience of UEA students.

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'We plan to continue working with the university to ensure that there will be continual commitment to working to improve widening participation of students applying to the university.'

UEA's fees proposals have been submitted to the Office for Fair Access (Offa) for approval. The organisation can veto any proposed fees over �6,000-a-year if universities are not doing enough to widen higher education participation.

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Prof Acton said: 'There has been some very acute soul-searching in terms of the risk that we will frighten off families who will believe headlines that are a little bit misleading about what it means.

'Looking at our fees, it feels very difficult to come in at the average. The arguments look terribly strong. You've got to go to �9,000 if you have ambition.'

Earlier this month, University Campus Suffolk said it intended to charge fees of �7,500-8,000. Norwich University College of the Arts (Nuca) said it would not be making an announcement until 'early May'.

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