Court upholds tuition policy in Britain

Feb. 17, 2012 at 12:20 PM

LONDON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Two British teenagers lost a court battle against a government decision to raise university tuition fees -- a move they called "a barrier" to higher education.

Two High Court justices in London ruled that although Vince Cable, the business secretary, had failed "fully to carry out" his public-sector equality duties before he raised tuition, it would "not be appropriate" to reverse the rules because there had been "very substantial compliance," The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The teenagers, Callum Hurley and Katy Moore, both 17, argued that charging students $14,248 a year to attend universities created "a barrier" to higher education and threatened to widen the gap between rich and poor.

Lawyer Tessa Gregory represented the teenagers.

"In its ruling, the court made a clear declaration that the government, when it passed the regulations increasing tuition fees, failed to comply with its public-sector equality duties," Gregory said.

"It found the government's analysis on equality issues was inadequate. That the court made this finding in relation to such a key plank of the government's higher education policy cannot but reflect badly on these rushed reforms."

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills praised the court's decision.

"We are pleased the court rejected outright the suggestion that our student finance reforms breach students' human rights," the spokesman said.

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