By Sarah Harris for the Daily Mail
Published: 01:25 GMT, 27 March 2020 | Updated: 01:30 GMT, 27 March 2020
Universities may have to slash tuition fees because they are unlikely to return to face-to-face teaching this autumn, it was revealed yesterday.
The director of the Centre for Global Higher Education at the University of Oxford said institutions in the northern hemisphere are 'looking at a new academic year that is predominantly or wholly online'.
Professor Simon Marginson spoke out as more than 266,000 students have already signed a petition calling for tuition fee refunds.
In the past two weeks, British universities have switched to online or remote learning to counter the spread of Covid-19 and many have closed campuses.
Universities may have to reduce their fees after education experts warned that students are unlikely to accept continuing to pay full charges if they do not have face-to-face teaching. (Stock image)
Speaking at Universities UK's International Higher Education forum, held online on Wednesday, Professor Marginson warned that international education faces a 'massive hit'.
He said: 'Realistically, we are not going to see a return to face-to-face education in September.'
He added that online learning 'needs to be seen as a substantially different product, a different educational experience… and as such it will need a separate pricing structure'.
Education experts also warned yesterday that students are unlikely to accept continuing to pay full £9,250-a-year charges if they do not have face-to-face teaching this autumn.
Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, said: 'Universities will have to look very carefully at their fee structure so that it's fair to students but also attractive to them. This could involve reducing charges.'
The Student Loan Company has already told universities and