The London School of Economics has voted to set the cost of an undergraduate degree from 2012 at £8k a year, £1k less than the maximum allowed. 40% of the income raised above the minimum permitted fee level of £6k will be put towards bursaries for poorer students (help us with the maths here - that's £800 per £8k-charging place going towards 'widening access'?).
This decision, still to be ratified by the LSE's council but likely to be so, means a degree from the LSE will cost less than anywhere else in London - even less than South Bank, charging £8,450 a year. LSE's student union are obviously pleased with the decision, one officer calling it
a political statement about rejecting, at least in part, the policies of this government
It would be nice to think so, wouldn't it? But the more likely reason is that LSE has the luxury of being able set lower fees, as its income is heavily bolstered by foreign students.
Still on the theme of tuition fees, the latest brilliant idea from David Willetts (after his corker about allowing the rich to buy their way into courses; not actually as stupid as it sounded, but boy did the presentation go wrong) is that universities could charge lower fees for places in clearing. Having witnessed the clearing bunfight nightmare for ourselves, and also knowing that top institutions and courses rarely appear, we can't help thinking this is another terrible idea that will encourage poorer kids into lower quality education.