Northern Ireland

Tuition fees freeze advice set to change

The author of a report into university tuition fees in Nortnern Ireland looks set to overturn her recommendation that fees should be kept at the current level.

The fees are now about £3,000 per year, but Joanne Stuart could recommend they rise as high as £6,000.

Employment and Learning Minister Danny Kennedy is to make a statement in the assembly on the issue later.

He is unlikely to give his reaction to the latest advice, however.

Mr Kennedy has previously said a rise in tuition fees is almost inevitable but is yet to reveal his intentions.

In a report commissioned by his department, Ms Stuart of the Institute of Directors said fees should be frozen.

Fees are currently £3,000 per year and Westminster has agreed that in England they could rise to £9,000.

It is understood the pressure of that change and a tight budget here has led to a recommendation that the fees could rise to a maximum of £6,000.

However, there could be a move to make non-local students pay the same rate as in England.

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