Fix International Fees
Each year up to 175000 international students find their fees increase often without notice, reason or support. Help us stop this and ensure each international student has a fixed fee guarantee.
Sign our petition now:
The UK Higher Education policy environment is aggressive and unforgiving. A space with almost no protections for international students, the UK HE funding system forces institutions to pursue fee income wherever they can find it. In this space, unregulated tuition fees are low-hanging fruit for universities and colleges, who must do what they can to survive the current HE reforms.
Increases in International Student tuition fees are being used to prop up the UK’s flawed HE funding policy. We believe that two wrongs do not make a right. The cost of this? Over 50% of all non-EU international students face having their tuition fees increase by unforeseen amounts, often by thousands of pounds, each year of their programme.
Our fixed fees campaign has one simple goal: to abolish in-course fee increases.
We want a fixed fee guarantee for all international students.
These kinds of increase make a huge difference to retention, as our own Pound in Your Pocket research shows: students who pay unexpected additional costs of £1000 or more are three times more likely to consider leaving their programme. This is unfair, it’s exploitative and it damages not only the prospects of many of our students, it is an unscrupulous policy which undermines UK Higher Education.
What’s worse is that this is an almost hidden issue. It should be of no surprise that institutions don’t shout about this fact when they are recruiting. Scrutiny of fee setting is also meaningless and tokenistic: The majority of students’ unions we surveyed do not have any meaningful engagement around fee setting policies, other than at institutional governor level. The problem at this stage is that decisions at this level are nothing but a rubber-stamping exercise. We believe in working in partnership for the futures of our members, and students are being given no real ability to influence fee making decisions.
This lack of regulation presents a challenge in this campaign – fee level decisions are made locally, so our action must be local.
It is within your institution’s power to decide whether or not to exploit international students, and it is within your power to make this change.
The International Students’ Campaign urge Students’ Unions and Associations to act now. Use the #FixIntFees web app, lobby your institution, talk to your members, share their stories and get those fixed fee guarantees. Share your successes so we can pile on the pressure nationally to make this change.
NUS has created resources for you to use in your local campaign:
Download the NUS FixIntFees Campaign Pack.
Download the NUS example letter to send to your Vice Chancellor or Principal
Download the NUS guide to #FixIntFees on Social Media
Download the example e-mail to send to your members
Download the example website text for your website including the fee calculator
Download the Edinburgh University Students’ Association Campaign Report on how they won a fixed fee guarantee for international students.
Download the Aberdeen University Students’ Association Policy Paper that helped them win a fixed fee guarantee for international students.
Principles – what we’re arguing for
The cost of a programme must be clear to students from the outset. Not only should students understand in-course costs, but they should know the tuition fee levels for the entire award.
Fixed Fee Guarantee
The tuition fee that a student pays in the first year of their study should be fixed for the duration of the programme, without any increase, for contiguous years within awards.
Interest Rate Guarantee
If the fixed fee guarantee is not possible, as an absolute minimum, fee increases must be limited to the level of inflation. The institution will not reserve the right to increase fees beyond this level, from year to year during a student’s programme.
Governing fee levels
Students’ representatives should be involved in all decisions on fee setting within an institution. Any change in fee levels should be justified, evidenced and transparent.
Support and flexibility – the Acts of God and War principle
Sometimes the cost of paying fees increase for reasons beyond the institution’s control, such as with currency crises which impact the exchange rate; additionally environmental emergencies and financial sanctions during times of international conflict can interrupt fee payments. In these circumstances, institutions should pledge to be flexible and supportive in their fee arrangements.
For more information contact Daniel Stevens, International Students' Officer.