The Minister of State for Universities and Science, Conservative David Willetts, has backed down from plans to allow UK teenagers to secure a place at university by paying higher fees.
Willetts initially suggested allowing universities to take on UK students in addition to their government-set quota and to charge them fees of up to £28,000 per year – the same fee as for non-EU students.
The suggestion was met with hostility from Lib-Dem President Tim Farron, the University and College Union (UCU), and the National Union of Students (NUT).
Willetts later released a statement saying, “We will only consider allowing off-quota places where it contributes to the coalition commitment to improve social mobility and increase fair access.
“There is no question of wealthy students being able to buy a place at university. Access to a university must be based on ability to learn not ability to pay.
“We have been discussing the idea of charitable donors and employers endowing additional places on a needs blind basis which will be subject for consultation in the higher education white paper.”