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Jan 20, 2014 05:45 AM EST

Prince William Criticized For Paying Lower Fees on Tailor-Made Course at Cambridge

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Despite being an heir to the English throne, Prince William is not being spared by the Cambridge community. For the second time in a month, the Duke of Cambridge is under fire, this time for receiving a huge discount on his fees for studying a course based on agricultural management.

The 31-year-old royal is reportedly paying around $16,419. However, many believe the costs are much higher for the 10-week course specially designed for him. At Cambridge, a normal undergraduate struggles to pay around $14,777 in annual tuition fees and leaves the university with an average $41,048 debt.

"It's not as though the Queen has had to remortgage Buckingham Palace to help him through university. There are surely more deserving postgraduate students in Cambridge than the heir to the British throne who will inherit a £400 million estate. Many feel the Royal Family receives quite enough of a subsidy as it is," Dom Anderson, vice president of the National Union of Students, said, Mirror reports.

Kensington Palace declined to comment on the on-going controversy saying that it is a privately funded course.

Earlier this month, Cambridge campus community protested Prince William's participation in the program despite his poor academic credentials.

The 10-week program that began Jan.7 is designed to ready the Duke of Cambridge for his responsibilities. He will become the 'Duchy of Cornwall' after Prince Charles. The course is organized by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (part of the university's School of Technology). The Prince of Wales is the Patron of the Program.

A university spokesman refused to talk about the financial arrangements, but said, "These courses are designed and developed for senior executives and leaders in business and, in this case, for a future king."

The custom-made course involves 20 hours of teaching a week, including outdoor activities in small groups, personal tuition as well as classroom lectures with ordinary students.

Defending William's course, a former royal courtier said, "It's good for the prince and it's good for the university. The course will stand him in good stead for when he inherits the Duchy. He understands the responsibility and is keen to learn as much as possible from the very best in their field."

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