‘Still a significant burden’: RIBA responds to reduced ARB accreditation fee

pound signRIBA has responded to the Architects Registration Board’s (ARB) changes to its new annual fee for UK architecture schools to accredit their courses.

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…£6,500 is still a significant burden…

RIBA writes:

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the Architects Registration Board’s (ARB) changes to its new annual fee for UK architecture schools to accredit their courses.

When first announced in November 2023, the compulsory blanket fee was set at £9,200 per year, which RIBA called ‘an unwelcome shock and unexpected financial burden’.

Earlier this month, ARB announced it had reconsidered its plans. Schools of architecture will now have to pay £6,500 per year plus a further 10% per accredited qualification for those schools that offer multiple qualifications.

ARB has also significantly increased its new programme fee to £12,500. While RIBA also charges £12,500 for new programmes, this fee is only charged to new providers, which means that only institutions without an already RIBA-validated programme pay the fee.

Responding to the revised ARB fee, RIBA Chair of Board Jack Pringle said:

“The reduced blanket fee of £6,500 is still a significant burden – and one that will disproportionately affect smaller learning providers and those already struggling financially. In any case, a school offering two accredited qualifications will have to pay £7,800 and conceivably others will pay more. It’s not quite the discount it first seems.

ARB’s expensive, potentially desktop accreditation compares to RIBA’s hands-on validation process, which costs the schools £5000 every five years (i.e. £1000 per year) due to the amount of pro-bono time the profession devotes to the schools.

We are concerned that ARB’s fee will actively work against its aim to remove barriers to becoming an architect, by potentially increasing costs indirectly for students. These costs will also overspill on to overseas students who are already under fee and visa burdens and in turn affect the schools’ ability to deliver architecture courses which are more expensive to run.

RIBA will continue to petition ARB on matters relating to educational reform. We will keep advocating for schools of architecture and working with them and our members to deliver an inclusive and diverse education system that strives for excellence. In particular, we would like to see shorter and more affordable routes to qualification which will reduce student debt, with no loss of educational quality.”

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