Universities defend fee increases for Guernsey students

Robert Sillars
Image caption Deputy Sillars said he would work with Jersey to try to resolve the issue

Four UK universities which intend to charge Guernsey students overseas fees are defending their decisions.

Warwick, Cardiff, Cambridge and Imperial College will demand either increased rates or full international fees from next academic year.

Peter Dunn, a spokesman for Warwick University, said favouring Channel Island students over those from other jurisdictions would be discriminatory.

Guernsey's Education minister said he would work on the problem with Jersey.

All other English universities have agreed to treat Channel Islands students the same as their UK counterparts when fees for new courses jump from just over £3,000 a year to a maximum of £9,000 from 2013.

Deputy Robert Sillars said: "We're trying very hard to bring these four [universities] back in line."

'No justification'

Mr Dunn said the decision had been prompted by a relaxation of rules regarding what fees can be charged by universities.

He said: "We are now left to decide what is equitable.

"We have to decide what that means in terms of the impact on other non-EU students who may see us offering something to Jersey and Guernsey which they don't receive."

A statement from Cambridge University read: "The university does not see any justification for maintaining a reduced rate of unregulated fee charged solely on the basis of particular domicile. To do so would be discriminatory."

Cardiff University will be charging students from the Bailiwick higher fees, but islanders won't be treated as international students.

A spokesperson for the university said the fees would be higher because Wales did not provide funding to Guernsey students.

Islanders who study for an arts degree would pay the same as home or EU students but those taking a science degree would pay more.

Imperial College justified its decision on financial grounds. A spokesperson told the BBC the increased fees were needed to meet the high cost of education at the college.

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