Tuition fee boost

Tyrone Wassell, head of the Student Union at the college.
Tyrone Wassell, head of the Student Union at the college.
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AN extra 300 university students look set to be educated in Blackpool as part of Government plans to drive down tuition fees.

Figures from the House of Common’s Library have suggested Blackpool and The Fylde College look to get a share of funding for up to 6,000 extra places next year.

The plan aims to see more students taught at colleges instead of universities to penalise institutions charging maximum fees for degree courses.

Universities charging more than £7,500 for courses will have places removed which will be auctioned off to places with higher education colleges like Blackpool, Bradford, Grimsby and Hull.

Tyrone Wassell, head of the Student Union at the college welcomed the news.

He told The Gazette: “This should be a welcome boost, especially as 300 students is unlikely to overstretch college resources. I hope it will encourage more people to consider Blackpool.”

The Government controls how many students each university can recruit because of the cost of providing undergraduates with grants and loans to cover tuition fees and living expenses.

From 2012, English universities will be able to charge up to £9,000 in tuition fees – almost three times the current rate.

But ministers are determined to drive down fees to minimise the student loans bill so are looking at colleges.

Catherine Hill, vice principal at Blackpool and The Fylde College said: “We welcome the opportunity for regeneration and an increased role in the region for Blackpool and The Fylde College. It’s exciting to have the contribution our higher education provision makes to the economy recognised in such a way.”

Manchester and Leeds universities face losing up to 300 students each, while Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and the London School of Economics could lose 50.