England pays highest tuition fees in the world as cost of university courses has TRIPLED over the last decade

  • Expert warns universities in England may struggle to justify world’s highest fees
  • Andreas Schleicher said sticking with online classes will be hard to justify fees
  • The director for education and skills at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development claims students want more for their money
  • University fees in England have tripled in the last decade to £9,250 a year

England has the highest university tuition fees in the world but might struggle to justify these rates if courses stay online, an expert warned yesterday.

The average cost of an undergraduate degree is greater in this country than in publicly funded institutions around the developed world – including the US.

Students have faced a tripling in charges over the last decade to £9,250 a year – following government reforms that raised the cap on tuition fees in 2012.

England now has the highest tuition fees for a bachelor degree out of the 46 countries – including New Zealand and Japan – which provided data to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

England has the highest university tuition fees in the world but might struggle to justify these rates if courses stay online, an expert warned yesterday (stock image)

New Zealand’s fees are around £3,439 a year on average, while Japan charges about £3,884, according to the OECD. The figure for publicly funded universities in the US was second-highest to England – at £6,911 per year. But private institutions like Harvard and Yale have far higher annual fees of around £39,000 and £42,000 respectively.

The findings come as several British universities announced a third academic year of remote lectures.

Many are adopting a ‘blended’ approach to learning with a mix of in-person and online teaching this autumn.

But the OECD’s director for education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, insisted yesterday that students want more out of campus life.

He said: ‘Students go to university to meet great professors, they go to university to work with colleagues and researchers in a laboratory, they go to university to experience social life of campus.’

The OECD’s director for education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, insisted yesterday that students want more out of campus life (stock image)

Despite calls to move back to in-person teaching, a survey published yesterday shows that many lecturers remain reluctant. The Times Higher Education polled 535 academics with 53 per cent saying they did not feel safe returning to face-to-face teaching or on-campus working while Covid cases remain high. Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘The fact we’ve now got the higher tuition fees in the world but not providing face to face provision is something of a national scandal.’

A Universities UK spokesman said: ‘UK universities are world-leading, with the benefits of obtaining a degree here wide-ranging.’ They added that graduates earn £10,000 more a year than non-graduates.

  • The OECD also found that British primary school class sizes are among the highest in the developed world. The average is 21 in state primaries and 20 in private. This ranks the UK joint second-highest along with the likes of Japan and Israel. They were only beaten by Chile – with 29.

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