University students in England currently pay £9,000 a year tuition fees; this money pays for the students’ education and doesn’t cover living costs such as rent, food or books.  When these other costs are considered, the average English student leaves University with £44,000 of debt.


The left-wing Labour party  has just announced that if it wins the General Election in May, the £9,000 tuition fee will be reduced to £6,000 per year.

University fees is an important subject in British politics. The last General Election in 2010 was won by the right-wing Conservative party. One of the first things they did was increase university fees to £9,000 per year. Before 2010, university fees were £3,250 per year.

University students in England start to repay their student debt when they find a job after they graduate. If they do not find a job that pays  more than  £16,910 per year, they do not have to repay their loan.

Interestingly, university fees are different in different parts of the UK. Scottish students who study at a Scottish university do not have to pay tuition fees at all. In Wales university fees are £3,810 per year and in Northern Ireland they are £3,805. English students currently pay three times more than students in other parts of the UK.

Photo Credit: Newsroom

Vocabulary: tuition (n), fees (n), living costs (n), rent (n), debt (n), left-wing (adj), right-wing (adj), General Election (n), to put someone in debt (phrasal verb), to repay (v).

Comprehension Questions: How much did you understand?

1) How much money do English students currently pay to go to university a year?

2) How much money did English students pay to go to university in 2009? How much in 2010?

3) If Labour win the General Election, how much will tuition fees be?

4) Which party increased tuition fees to £9,000 per year?

5) When do English students start to repay their student debt?

6) How much do Scottish students pay in tuition fees? How much do Welsh students pay?

Discussion Questions

1) How much do people in your country pay to go to university?

2) What do you think of the English system? (price, how they repay etc.)

3) Do you think all universities should charge the same tuition fees? Why/ Why not?

4) Does the price of university influence how many people apply? Would a high tuition fee stop some students going to university?

5) Some people think that education should be free, do you agree?