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Tuition fee rises could affect cadet funding

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  • Tuition fee rises could affect cadet funding

    6058295001_fbfd2f6aaf_b.jpgThe government's move to abolish funding for undergraduate tuition has caused some concern within the maritime training sector, with fears that future cadet intakes may have to contribute towards the cost of their tuition.


    In today's edition of Lloyd's List, David Osler reports that the Chamber of Shipping and the Merchant Navy Training Board are uncertain of the exact impact these changes will have on cadet training. The Chamber of Shipping acknowledges that the current system, where cadets' tuition fees are paid in full by their employers along with living allowances, puts cadets in a "hugely favourable situation" in comparison to "conventional" students.

    Last year, SMarT (Support for Maritime Training) funding was cut by 20% as part of the austerity measures implemented by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. It was also announced that government support for undergraduate tuition would be withdrawn for courses commencing from September 2012.

    As cadetships lead to undergraduate qualifications such as Higher National Diplomas and Foundation Degrees, and there has been no indication that they will be treated differently to any other university course, the overall cost of cadet training looks set to rise. The rises do not affect Scotland, where the Scottish government will continue to support undergraduate fees. Tuition fees are set by the individual universities, with a cap of £9,000 per year.

    In their October 2011 newsletter, the Merchant Navy Training Board described the changes as "disquieting" and expressed concern that the changes to SMarT funding alone have the potential to limit the numbers of cadets receiving sponsorship. The higher education funding issue would seem to compound this problem.

    The MNTB have been in discussions with the National Apprenticeship Service, the Skills Funding Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council to identify potential means to minimise the increased costs, but admits that the possibility of cadets making a financial contribution to the cost of training is being explored.

    Nautilus International have expressed concerns that any change to the current arrangements has the potential to deter applicants, and described the proposal to expect financial contributions from cadets as "self-defeating".

    All involved organisations stress that there is still some amount of uncertainty, and OfficerCadet.com would suggest that our visitors continue as normal until further information is released.

    Further Reading

    UK officer cadets set to pay for training (Lloyd's List) Subscription required
    MNTB October 2011 Newsletter

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