Newspaper review: Call for tuition fee rise makes headlines


The Independent reports that the vice-chancellor of Oxford University believes leading colleges should be allowed to raise their tuition fees to £16,000 a year to "meet the true costs" of educating their students.

Professor Andrew Hamilton says Oxford's "world class education system" is being jeopardised by an annual shortfall of £70m.

The paper's editorial argues that the funding gap did not start when fee changes came in two years ago and it says it is too soon to judge whether the current arrangements are working.

According to the Times, students facing the prospect of higher fees are likely to turn to a new lender to help them fund their education - the "bank of gran and grandad".

It says a report by an equity release group has found that an estimated 364,000 grandparents have contributed towards university fees and living costs.

It predicts that by 2023, 1.7 million people will have dipped into their savings to help their grandchildren avoid graduating with heavy debts.

Fostering plea

Both the Express and the Mirror lead with the news that the mother of Madeleine McCann has applied to appear in court in Portugal in her libel action against a former Portuguese detective.

Kate McCann is said to be desperate to defend herself against claims that she and husband Gerry covered up the death of their daughter in an accident.

The Daily Express says she is expected to use new evidence uncovered by Scotland Yard which will be revealed in a Crimewatch special on Monday.

The Daily Mirror says she hopes that "giving an emotional account" will help to win the case.

A group of charities has written a letter to the Daily Telegraph urging members of the House of Lords to support changes in the law that would ensure people in foster care receive support beyond the age of 18.

The chief executives of the NSPCC, Barnardo's and the Children's Society, among others, say care leavers are "more likely to be unemployed, single parents, mental health service users, homeless or in prison".

The charities say allowing people to remain with their foster carers until they are 21 "makes financial and moral sense".

Black hole

Many of the papers reserve space for Professor Peter Higgs, the physicist awarded the Nobel Prize for proposing the existence of a particle that helps explain how matter formed after the big bang.

"It's the boson what won it" is the headline in the Sun.

There is also much head-scratching over the whereabouts of the scientist, who is described by the Guardian as being "as elusive as the Higgs boson".

The paper explains how Prof Higgs has "disappeared off on holiday without a mobile phone" to escape the media attention.

The Daily Mail says the man who "solved one of the greatest mysteries in the universe" is at the centre of one himself after vanishing into a black hole where even the Nobel Prize officials could not find him.

The Times says there are rumours that Professor Higgs may have retreated to the Cairngorms, the spot where he came up with his theory 50 years ago.

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