New figures show students from outside Britain and the EU will pay an average of £10,463 in tuition fees next year – a rise of 5.6 per cent.
One university – Imperial College London – is preparing to charge fees of up to £26,250 for some laboratory-based subjects.
Under Government rules, tuition fees for all British students and those from EU member states are capped at £3,290 next year, but universities are free to set unlimited fees for foreign undergraduates.
A study earlier this year by the think-tank Policy Exchange found that overseas students were increasingly seen as a “lucrative source of income for a growing numbers of universities”.
It follows a decision to cut £700m from the universities budget for 2010/11, with warnings of further reductions to come as the Coalition seeks to save cash to service the national debt.
A survey of institutions by Mike Reddin, a former academic at the London School of Economics, shows that average fees for foreign students will top £10,000 for the first time next year.
Fees at the 20 universities belonging to the elite Russell Group, which represents Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and University College London, will rise to £12,162, according to the figures published in Times Higher Education magazine.
Institutions are also preparing to increase the cost of postgraduate courses for British students, which are also not protected by a fees cap.
The average cost of a one-year taught master’s course will rise by 16 per cent to £5,214, it was disclosed.
The rises have been criticised by student leaders.
Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, told the magazine: “Institutions are able to raise postgraduate fees without restriction and they are clearly using that freedom to… fill gaps in their funding left by cuts.”
Dominic Scott, chief executive of the UK Council for International Student Affairs, said it would be a “bitter pill” for students.
“There is real concern at whether the UK will be able to continue to offer the best value for money compared with competitor countries,” he said.
Source – www.telegraph.co.uk