LSE rejects plan to charge tuition fees

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The Independent Online
THE London School of Economics last night rejected plans to become the first higher education institution to charge its students tuition fees.

The school's academic board turned down by 75 votes to 9 proposals to demand fees of pounds 500 from next autumn, and up to pounds 1,000 the following year. John Ashworth, the school's director, argued that the change was necessary because government funding was inadequate.

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors warned last night that the issue would not go away and that other universities were facing similar decisions. A spokesman said: 'Universities provide a top-flight first-class service but the Government only pays a bucket-shop economy fare . . . Universities must make an increasingly stark choice between charging customers and reducing the service they offer.'

Iain Crawford, the LSE's head of public relations, resigned last night. He had recommended that the school should discuss the tuition fees as a public relations strategy and as a way of putting pressure on the Government. 'I wanted the school to say it would go ahead with the plan unless the Government produced some serious reforms of higher education.' The strategy had been condemned at the meeting so he felt he could no longer continue.

The school's students had threatened disruption if the decision on fees was approved.

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