TEF and fees separated by Lords

The House of Lords has passed an amendment to cut the link between tuition fee rises and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). However, student campaigners say there is little to celebrate with this announcement despite appearing to be a victory for campaigns like the National Student Survey (NSS) boycott.

The government’s Higher Education Bill would have meant that only universities who scored highly in the TEF, including good scores on the NSS would have been able to raise their fees by £250 a year.

Passing by 263 votes to 211, the latest amendment removes the clause of the HE bill which proposed that universities were entitled to decide their tuition fees according to how they ranked in the TEF.

Lord Kerslake, who proposed the amendment said that the TEF was “not ready” as a measurement for fee increases, and that “this is an approach to fee setting that has not been properly thought through.”

Commenting on the news, a spokesperson for the SU said: “Whilst we should be pleased at the apparent severing of the link between TEF and fees, we’re really worried about what will happen next.

“The ability to increase fees was a power that the Secretary of State held anyway and the danger is that they will now go up for everyone regardless.

“Alternatively, the Government could deny all Universities the inflationary increase which will see real terms funding cut at UEA when we’re already facing closure of small courses and modules.

“What’s really needed is a total rethink of HE Funding to keep student debt under control and ensure that Universities are properly funded.”


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January 2021
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