Since the passing of legislation for universities fees to be raised to £9,000 it seems that those proposing the changes really don’t want universities to raise them to that amount. I cannot even begin to understand the minds of the likes of David Willets. The Russell Group openly campaigned for an uncapping of fees, it is no surprise that their members will want £9,000 for their courses (so far only Oxbridge and IC have announced they want them, but the rest will follow), world leading establishments are going to think they should charge the most, and as they are world leading, people will pay for it. Anyway, every time Willets speaks, I am confused as to why he is a) opposed to universities imposing £9k fees and b) surprised that establishments will do so. From today’s Guardian:
“Unless universities can prove that there will be a commensurate and very significant improvement in the education on offer, it is difficult to see how such an increase could ever be justified, let alone at a time of fiscal restraint. Institutions can clearly offer higher education at a price much less than £9,000,”
In this time of fiscal restraint which is effecting universities through funding cuts, it makes sense to recoup losses from students by charging more. Top UK institutions will argue (very eloquently) that the quality of their degrees is worth £9k and more, when they were lobbying they thought around £15k per year  was an appropriate amount, so in many ways they probably think they are still being short changed.
There was talk of not allowing unis to charge large amounts unless they can prove they have a good bursary and access schemes, my deep suspicions is that many ‘red brick’ establishments will have such measures in place, and would swiftly put them in place if they thought they could offset the teaching budget cuts.
More to follow as Willetts makes more announcements.