The London College of Fashion, one of the world’s leading fashion colleges, has been forced to almost double its course fees to more than £6,000 for its 2012 intake due to cuts in government funding.
The college, the top UK destination for education in fashion design, currently charges students £3,375 a year for a full-time honours degree.
However, a spokeswoman for University of the Arts, which runs the London College of Fashion and five other colleges, said: “Across the University of the Arts, it is very likely we will have to charge in excess of £6,000, as we are losing the majority of the funding that the Government gives us.”
She added: “Art and design are expensive courses to teach, as you need specialist technical equipment.”
The university anticipates a cut to its grant of between 7% and 10% in 2011/12, which would mean a reduction in its expenditure of about £8m.
From September 2012, most universities and colleges will be able to charge new full-time students up to £9,000 a year. However, those that want to charge in excess of £6,000 a year will have to make sure students from all income groups can access their courses and will have to apply for parliamentary approval to increase their fees.
Frances Corner, head of college at the London College of Fashion, said that the college was committed to past, present and future students and that bursaries and scholarships would help impoverished students to attend.
Corner said: “Scholarships and bursaries can ensure that any change in fees will not preclude a potential student from pursuing their aspirations. The college will continue to provide a range of widening participation initiatives, including school and community outreach programmes, so that we can maintain the quality and diversity of our student body.”
Separately, Drapers has unearthed that fashion students at some UK universities have been outsourcing the production of garments for their final graduate collections, which has led to criticism that design graduates lack the core make-up skills needed for garment production.
Rachel Bromley, co-director of womenswear manufacturer Sienna Couture in London’s Battersea Park, said students on fashion courses at the London College of Fashion and the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design had outsourced collections to the company. She said: “It is great for us as it’s work, but it’s disgraceful because they finish university and they can’t sew a button on.”
She added that the amount of work done for individual students ranged from one or two pieces to a whole collection, and that Sienna Couture produced garments for about 20 students a year. However, Terry Mansfield, chairman of Graduate Fashion Week, said: “I’ve never known this to happen.”