When do we want them? Er, as soon as possible really but it is recognised that there might be the tiny problem of electoral arithmetic to contend with, so bad luck everyone.
The BBC has done a survey of a selection of VCs on their fee preferences:
Many universities in England and Wales want a sharp increase in tuition fees, a survey by BBC News has concluded. Two thirds of vice chancellors, speaking anonymously, said they needed to raise fees, suggesting levels of between £4,000 and £20,000 per year. More than half of university heads want students to pay at least £5,000 per year or for there to be no upper limit.
Higher Education Minister David Lammy said there was an “important debate to be had”. The National Union of Students has warned of debts of £32,000 for students if fees rise to £7,000 per year.
There is an important debate to be had on this issue. Universities do need substantially more money to deliver (a) the teaching and learning students deserve and (b) the world leading science base expected by government. Even before the global recession things were looking a bit dodgy on the long term funding front. Now universities are likely to be so far down the pecking order you might expect the Treasury to be arguing for topping up Fred Goodwin’s pension before investing more in higher education. So where else is the money going to come from?