Under the government proposals, institutions may soon be allowed to charge some students from the UK as high fees as overseas students while the richest students will be able to pay for extra university places. Those students taking up the extra places would not be given loans to pay tuition fees for this will become an option for the wealthiest students who can pay fees up front. The government plans that the extra students at the most competitive universities would have to pay as much tuition fees as international students for some courses - £12,000 for arts subjects and more than £28,000 for medicine.
The reason for such changes is to give more students a chance to study at the most prestigious universities. Nowadays the government sets a quota of undergraduate places that could be offered by universities each year (called "off-quota"). In the summer the custom papers is supposed to be published and outline all government’s plans. "Off-quota" places are expected to be sponsored by employers and charities
However, ministers say that in case extra places appear, social mobility can boost. The plans to create extra places as a means for the richest to "buy places" are said to be criticized. While the wealthiest are buying places, the government has to cut 10,000 publicly funded places.
David Willetts, the universities minister, told the Guardian: "There are various important issues that need to be addressed around off-quota places, but I start from the view that an increase in the total number of higher education places could aid social mobility. There would need to be arrangements to make sure any such system was fair and worked in the interests of students as well as institutions. But it is not clear what the benefit is of the current rules, which, for example, limit the ability of charities or social enterprises to sponsor students."