Research reveals most Londoners are put off University by fees
University of Roehampton’s Vice Chancellor Professor Paul O’Prey said the lack of knowledge was so widespread that thousands of gifted young people could be being put off from applying to university. NUS NEC member and Goldsmiths post-graduate Jamie Woodcock said “this research shows how fees are a barrier to education. It doesn’t matter that the income level before students pay the debt back has risen from 18k to 21k, most people are already put off by the looming figure of 9k per year”.
“The finding is extremely worrying,” said Professor O’Prey. “Applications for university places have dropped this year, almost certainly in part because of confusion about tuition fees.” Woodcock added “the government needs to realise a fees system is a barrier in of itself, and with the trebling of tuition fees creating a dark picture for the future of HE, no wonder young people don’t want to look at its failing intricacies and the minute details of the debt they’re facing”.
The Roehampton poll found that:
- 69 per cent of potential students thought they would be paying back the same or more each year after they graduate than current graduates – even though they will be paying less according to the government. Graduates will not make a contribution towards tuition costs until they are earning at least £21,000, up from the current £15,000.
- More than half (51 per cent) thought they would have to pay the university their tuition fees before they actually began their course – the reality is only those who have graduated and are earning more than £21,000 per year will have to pay anything at all.
- One in five (19 per cent) young people surveyed in the capital thought tuition fee debts would appear on their credit files. No reference to student loans is made on a credit file.
- More than two thirds (70 per cent) of young Londoners questioned said they thought that tuition fees would make going to university less attractive.
Professor O’Prey said: “Sadly, these results are not a shock to us at Roehampton. It is in line with what we know from talking to young people.
“But they are truly a cause for concern. Applications for university places in London have dropped by almost 10 per cent – higher than the national average.
Rachel Wenstone, Higher Education officer for NUS commented on the research “This shows the pernicious effect of a marketised HE sector – no matter the actual repayment that graduates face, the government’s insistence on a ‘price tag’ for HE courses is ensuring that confusion and misinformation reign”.
The NUS is organising a National Demonstration against tuition fees and youth unemployment on November 21st in the coming term. NUS HE Officer Rachel Wenstone said “ The NUS demo will focus on bringing activists together to create a Higher Education system based on nurturing human potential not on market competition”.