Under new government plans universities could be given an Ofsted-style score which would let the finest ones to charge higher fees for student.
Under a new teaching excellence framework (TEF), this measure is among a series of recommendations proposed.
As the move could indicate only the top universities would be able to lift up their fees even higher in line with inflation, but most universities have already raised tuition fees to £9,000 per year.
Institutions will soon be rated under the new framework on student retention, student satisfaction, graduate job prospects and rates, and also traditional factors such as research.
Besides conventional degree classifications in a bid to inspire students to work hard all through their courses rather than just for final exams, universities could also take on a US-style “grade point average” scheme.
Wednesday’s large scale student protest in central London, which saw demonstrators calling for free education, followed the plans came after.
Students challenged new plans to replace them with loans and axe maintenance grants.
On Friday, the proposals were criticized by campaigners.
“Teaching should always be a key focus of higher education, but the NUS is resolute the teaching excellence framework should not be connected to a boost in fees. Students should not be treated like customers.” said Megan Dunn, NUS president.
“We must do more to ensure that the money and time students devote in higher education is well spent”, said Jo Johnson, Universities and science minister.
“Our aim is to drive up the quality of teaching in our universities to ensure employers get graduates with the skills they need and taxpayers and students get value for money.”
Next year, on January 15, a consultation on the proposals is set to close.
“The UK higher education sector is recognized around the world for its high-quality learning, teaching and rates of student satisfaction. We welcome the Green Paper’s emphasis on demonstrating the value of a university education and protecting the interests of students” said Dame Julia Goodfellow, Universities UK president.