According to government essays
, the most prestigious universities of England will have to increase the amount they spend on widening access to poorer students in two times in case they charge the maximum tuition fees of £9,000.
Those universities that are going to charge more than £6,000 will have to make an agreement with Office for Fair Access. They will have to state what measures they are going to take to widen their pool of applicants. Sir Martin Harris, director of Offa, said that many pupils especially those from low-income families will find it almost impossible to enter universities with such high fees. That is the reason for forcing universities that want to charge the maximum fees to double the amount of applicants. Among the universities that have already claimed about intention to charge £9,000 are the universities of Exeter and Cambridge and Imperial College London. As for Oxford University, it is going to charge at least £8,000.
Offa says that the most academically selective universities with the least diverse student population will have to spend up to £900 a student on widening access instead of £400. The guidance says that is rational to accept more students from low-income homes and those in care. Moreover, more and more teenagers from under-represented ethnic-minority backgrounds and pupils with disabilities will receive places at universities.
Sir Martin Harris
said: "Those charging the highest fees will need to spend significantly more on access measures than those charging lower fees". Offa said that universities are free to choose how they are going to increase diversity although it wants the universities to take students' backgrounds into account.