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Universities and colleges set the fees they charge. But limits apply to different types of institution and student.

Public and private funding

If a university or college receives public funding, then they must charge within the variable fee limits.  

Some universities and colleges are privately funded. These so-called ‘alternative providers’ can charge fees as they see fit.

Publicly funded providers are listed on HEFCE’s register of providers.

Types of student

Fee limits at publicly funded universities and colleges apply to home and EU students.

These providers can charge international students above the fee limits.

Access agreements

The fee limit for publicly funded providers depends on whether the provider has an ‘access agreement’.

These agreements set out the work the provider does to retain students, and ensure their academic success and employability.

What are the fee limits?

Fee limit for 2016-17Which providers it applies to
£9,000 per year This is the upper fee limit for publicly funded providers with an access agreement
£6,000 per year This is the limit for providers without an access agreement

These fees cover core provision, including the costs of teaching, library and laboratory services.

They do not cover accommodation costs, the costs of equipment that becomes the student’s property, or field trip costs.

Breaking the limit

If we find that a publicly funded provider charges above the fee limit, we can impose a financial penalty on them.

But we prefer to seek redress for the students and ensure the provider complies with the fee regulations. 

Page last updated 11 July 2017