Higher Education Funding

December 9th, 2010

Tempers are running high both inside and outside the Palace of Westminster, as the Speaker of the House of Commons has just called the first of two divisions (votes) on the coalition government’s plans to raise tuition fees. But what are MPs actually voting on?

The first vote relates to section 24 of the Higher Education Act 2004 which provides, in short, that a governing body of a relevant higher education institution may not set fees above a specified  “higher amount”. That higher amount is currently set by regulation 4 of the Student Fees (Amounts)(England) Regulations 2004 at £3290. Regulation 5 sets a higher amount for courses of a certain length. That is currently £1640. The first vote in the Commons today is therefore in the following terms:

“That, for the purpose of section 24 of the Higher Education Act 2004, the higher amount should be increased to £9,000, and to £4,500 in the cases described in regulation 5 of the draft regulations in Command Paper Cm 7986, and that the increase should take effect from 1 September 2012.”

The second vote then is to approve the draft regulations (which you can find here) which will make these changes. These are The Higher Education (Basic Amount)(England) Regulations 2010. The vote is in these terms:

“That the draft Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations 2010, which were laid before this House on 29 November, be approved.”

Will the ayes have it?

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