“Whilst this is a significant victory which reduces the debt burden for students by over £2.1 million, we were disappointed that despite our protestations, the University intend to go ahead with their intention to increase fees for students who began their studies this October, for the academic year 2017/18.“They felt that communication with them had been sufficiently clear for this not to be an issue, and that the University needed the additional revenue it would generate in order to fund high quality provision for students.”Concerns remain over the decision to maintain an increase in fees for freshers, not least because the HE White Paper was published after these students had applied to Oxford, and therefore they could not have known to expect a fee rise.A University spokesperson commented, “Under government plans, English universities will have the right to increase UK and EU undergraduate tuition fees in line with inflation from September 2017. The increases can apply both to those who are already at university and those who are about to join. The University of Oxford has announced that the students who will pay the inflationary fee rise from that date onwards are those who begin their studies in 2017, and those who started in 2016.“For students who began their course in 2016, the University contract explained that tuition fees might rise in future years in response to changes in government policy. The same term will appear in the University contract for students starting in 2017. The University believes the fairest approach is therefore to treat the two year groups in the same way. Previous year groups, who joined the University before the legislation which allows a fee increase was envisaged, were not given the same message so their fees will not be subject to the inflationary rise.“When the inflationary rise comes in across England, many universities will find themselves charging different amounts to different year groups. Oxford’s approach to that dilemma has been driven by a desire to find the fairest possible basis for its decision.“Oxford University provides one of the UK’s most generous support packages for students in financial need. Nearly half of the University’s additional fee income will be spend on bursaries, scholarships and outreach work, helping ensure that our world-class education remains available to all, regardless of financial background.”Stephen Rouse, Head of News and Information at the University of Oxford, added, “As part of September’s OFFA Access Agreement, Oxford University was required to indicate whether it intended to raise fees in line with inflation, subject to Government approval. This week’s Council meeting determined exactly which student groups would be subject to that inflationary rise.” The University of Oxford has made the decision not to raise tuition fees from 2017-18 for students enrolled in the University before 2016, following a campaign by OUSU.The University originally expressed an intention to increase fees after the 2016 Higher Education and Research Bill, which raised the tuition fee cap from £9,000 to £9,250.The University’s Agreement for Fair Access for 2017/2018 states, “The University has set a standard tuition fee of £9,250 in 2017-18 for all undergraduates all full-time Home/EU undergraduates, PGCE, and certificate and diploma in Theological Studies students who started in or after 2012.”VP for Access and Academic Affairs Eden Bailey, who played a leading role in the campaign, exclusively told Cherwell on behalf of OUSU, “A vote was taken in a University Council meeting in June to indicate to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) that the University intended to increase fees for all on-course students in the academic year 2017/18.“When [OUSU’s concerns] weren’t addressed through our direct enquiries, and the usual date for the University to signal fees had passed, we decided that we needed to take our campaigning to another level. Following this, we submitted several Freedom of Information requests to the University, and also several Colleges.“It appears that the FOI requests were a tipping point, and following the return of these, a potential reversal was put on the papers for the next Council meeting.”OUSU announced these requests in a video released in mid-September, when they also launched a petition to protest against the University’s plans.Bailey explained further, “On Monday, there was a meeting of University Council. At the meeting itself, Jack, Marina, and Eden each spoke extensively, expressing our concerns and the strength of feeling from the student body on the matter.