Exeter to charge full tuition fee

Exeter has become the latest university to announce plans to charge UK and EU students £9,000 tuition fees from next year.

The institution said it is developing a new package of fee waivers and bursaries to encourage poorer students to apply.

David Allen, registrar and deputy chief executive of Exeter University, said: "This will better enable us to direct resources at widening participation, fair access and improving the student experience.

"It is important that students can come and study at Exeter whatever their family background. We are already working with our Students' Guild to identify priorities for investing in the student experience."

MPs voted at the end of last year to raise tuition fees to £6,000 from 2012, with institutions allowed to charge £9,000 in "exceptional circumstances".

Universities planning to charge more than £6,000 have to submit their proposals to the Office For Fair Access (OFFA), detailing how they plan to ensure poorer students do not miss out.

The announcement means Exeter follows Cambridge and Imperial College London, which have both said they plan to raise fees to £9,000. Oxford University has already warned that the elite institution will need to charge at least £8,000 to maintain funding.

These leading universities are expected to be joined by less prestigious institutions in imposing the maximum charge, amid fears that setting lower fees may saddle them with a reputation for offering "cut-price" education.

Exeter is the first outside the Russell Group (which represents elite universities including Oxford and Cambridge) to reveal it wants to charge the maximum fee allowed for all courses.

The university is part of the 1994 Group of leading research-intensive institutions. Last month, universities minister David Willetts warned that institutions which opt to charge the maximum £9,000 from next year may end up looking "rather silly" when students opt for cheaper alternatives.