Azara Blog: A third of students allegedly would have been put off by university fees

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Date published: 2006/04/28

The BBC says:

A third of final-year university students would not have started degree courses if they had been forced to pay "top-up" fees, a study suggests.

The UK Graduate Careers Survey findings are based on responses from more than 16,000 students at 30 universities.

Students in England will pay fees of up to £3,000 a year from September. The National Union of Students said this was deterring prospective students.

But ministers say poorer students will benefit from more generous grants.

The government has also insisted that students would benefit from not having to repay a loan until after they have graduated and have started work.

The Graduate Careers Survey report said 41% of finalists from state schools would never have gone to university if they had been faced with higher fees, compared to 38% of finalists in the survey overall.

Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research, which conducted the research, said: "These findings will be a major blow for the government."

Meanwhile, new figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) revealed that more than 14,000 fewer students applied for courses starting in September than at this time last year - a fall of 3.2%.

A silly and meaningless survey. It is ridiculous that anyone would even pretend that 38% of current students would not have gone to university if there had been these "top-up" fees, so it is rubbish that the "findings will be a major blow for the government". Talk is cheap, especially on a survey. The 3.2% fall in applications is a more believable figure representing those put off, but even that is probably just a one-off, and the actual long-run figure might well be less. Indeed, if the extra money going to universities actually improves their educational offering (which is not that likely) then that might eventually even encourage more students to go to university.

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