Universities in Northern Ireland must not become clubs for the rich because of unfair tuition costs, universities minister Danny Kennedy said yesterday.
English universities plan to charge up to £9,000 a year for tuition from next year with new arrangements for paying the money back when graduates have begun earning.
The proposal was passed |at Westminster and is aimed |at ensuring institutions have |the money to continue high level research and innovation despite a funding cut announced in October.
Students have expressed fears a similar move in Northern Ireland could shut the door to the less well-off who fear a lifetime of debt.
Mr Kennedy told his scrutiny committee at Stormont: “What I want to do is to bring forward in a mature and meaningful way the options that will chart the course for a fair resolution to this, understanding the need to keep universities open, not to make it a rich man's club.”