All elite universities are set to introduce higher fees from next year, new data from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) revealed as it emerged nearly every institution in England is expected to follow suit.
The data showed 121 out of 123 universities with full-time undergraduates plan to charge £9,250 for some of their courses and 36 institutions plan to charge the higher fee on all their subjects.
It is understood the increases could impact current students and the rises will take place following parliamentary scrutiny as new law is likely to be in place.
The new data emerged as OFFA predicted an increase of over 10 per cent (£833.5 million) of future investment widen participation of minority students – much of which is being funded by the increase in fees.
OFFA expected the investment in widening access to under-represented groups of students – including the disabled and ethnic minorities – to remain in proportion to the rise in fees.
However, the universities are set to spend around 30 per cent of their higher fee income in broadening access with Oxford (41.3 per cent), Cambridge (31.2 per cent), London School of Economics (49.9 per cent) and Imperial (35 per cent) – all above the average.
Russell Group universities – particularly Oxford – have been under a lot of pressure to accept more minority students in their ranks following calls from former prime minister, David Cameron, to take more ethnic minority students.
Cambridge drops from top spot
Cambridge has dropped to fourth place for the first time in the QS World University Rankings as the US dominated the top three positions for the first time since the league tables began in 2004.
However, the UK retained its status as the world’s second-best higher education nation with the same number of top-400, top-100, and top-50 universities as last year.
Drop out rates remain high
New research by the Social Market Foundation, a think tank, showed one in ten students are dropping out of higher education after one year in 20 universities.
The research emerged as the think tank revealed "no significant progress" has been made on improving retention rates in England since 2009.
The research also revealed there are close to 50 institutions that are either making no progress or going backwards on continuation rates.