Written by Alyssa Walker

Tuition fees at England's universities may be cut to £6,500, but with much higher fees up to £13,500 or about $17,500 in some subjects like medicine and science.

Why now? May has faced increasing political pressure to lower the cost burden on students, partly as a result of pledges from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

While many students and prospective students will celebrate the news, and understandably so, the decision has not been made yet -- and the move is also perhaps a bit more complicated than it initially seems.

The idea of charging different fee levels for different subjects aims to level the playing field for those who will eventually earn less. If you are studying medicine, math, or engineering, for example, your future earnings will likely be higher than if you studied something else. 

But there's a lot of pushback for what would essentially create a two-tier system. Two fee levels could create a lower status of funding for humanities and arts subjects, which also limits higher tiered subjects to wealthier students. That is, if students of medicine and STEM subjects have to pay higher fees, poorer students may be dissuaded from those subjects.

While a discount in tuition may work for some students, whether it succeeds or not depends on government and university support. 

Stay tuned for updates.

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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