Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

University fees rise again next year

University fees are set to rise again next year, according to figures released today. The Office for Fair Access says the average fee will go beyond £8,500 a year for the first time next September – up from £8,385 this year.

The figures appear in a report by Offa on the access agreements it has signed for 2013-14 with all institutions seeking to charge more than £6,000 a year. The agreements with 122 universities and 28 further education colleges aim to ensure that students from poorer backgrounds are offered bursaries and other help.

In all, 94 of the 122 universities plan to charge the maximum of £9,000 a year for at least one course and 42 will charge it as a standard rate for all courses.

Universities have been buoyed by the fact that there will still be more applicants than places this September.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "When pushing higher fees through Parliament ministers promised that fees above £6,000 would be the exception rather than rule. Today's figures confirm our more accurate prediction that fees closer to £9,000 a year would in fact be the norm."