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November 05, 2010 10:00 AM The Price of College in Britain

By Daniel Luzer

The battle over higher education tuition caps in the United Kingdom has resulted in some useful information. Last month the British coalition government issued a report that, according to the Economist:

…Concluded that the current cap on tuition fees of £3,290 per year should be removed (though he suggested the Treasury claw back funds from universities that set high fees, reducing the incentive to charge more than £6,000). At the time, the government made it clear that it would retain a cap of some kind. On November 3rd David Willetts, the universities minister, specified its level: universities should be able to charge up to £9,000 a year, he said, if they implement as yet unspecified policies to attract students from poor families.

So there’s no easy solution.

But one of the interesting aspects of this discussion is that it forces Britain to consider its higher education fees relative to other countries. Here’s a look (via the Economist article) at British fees relative to seven other developed nations:

InternationalCHART.jpg

Note that the bar for the United States of America only reflects the tuition at state-supported universities. A bar for tuition for the average American private college would require the image to be four and a half times wider.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer