Northern Ireland university tuition fees frozen

Queen' University Belfast The decision affects students from Northern Ireland attending third level institutions here

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Tuition fees for Northern Ireland students attending universities here are to be frozen.

Higher education minister Stephen Farry said fees would rise only in line with inflation and that the budgets of universities would be protected.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that the £40m needed to freeze fees would be found by top-slicing money from several other departments.

The decision means fees will remain at around £3,500 per year.

Mr Farry said he would make a full statement on the issue on Monday.

University chiefs had described Thursday as "D-Day" and said the decision would have a profound effect on the future of higher education in Northern Ireland.

NI First Minister Peter Robinson said: "Northern Ireland has some of the best educated graduates in Europe.

"Time and time again investors in Northern Ireland tell us that the primary reason they have chosen this location is the high quality of our university graduates.

"This decision today will ensure that this remains the case for the foreseeable future."

Mr McGuinness said the decision would be widely welcomed by students and their families.

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