Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees

A poll has revealed almost half of teenagers are put off by the coalition's £9,000-a-year tuition fees - despite the previous reassurances from government.

When the government allowed the trebling of university tuition fees, critics were told it would not put students off going, however new polling shows that 49 per cent of teens are less likely to go to university as a result of £9000 a year fees.

Polling done by City and Guilds, who questioned 1,035 14- to 19-year-olds, was reported in last night’s Standard; it revealed:

“…49 per cent will be less likely to apply for degree courses because of the Government’s plans to raise tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000 from next year.”

It goes on to say:

“Nearly a third of those questioned – 29 per cent – are looking at training such as vocational qualifications (VQ) or apprenticeships, instead of a degree.

“One in four – 24 per cent – apparently plan to go straight into a job, with 16 per cent looking for an internship or work experience and 16 per cent considering a gap year.”

Both the architect of the plan, Lord Browne, and schools secretary Michael Gove have said the increase would not deter poorer students from higher education; universities minister David Willetts, on the other hand, warned universities charging £9,000 a year they they might find students deserting their courses – but of course he expected such universities to be the exception.

As Left Foot Forward has previously reported, the idea that £9k fees would be the exception was a pipe-dream, not just because of the incompetency of the government’s approach to the reforms, but also the laws of the market.

Higher education free marketeers may argue that if fewer students decide to apply to university, institutions will drop their prices in response. However, there is already evidence that market mechanisms are not working as intended in higher education. Universities may be competing on price, or, more accurately, who can charge the most.

The Vice Chancellor of De Montford University, Professor Dominic Shellard, told his student newspaper The Demon that DMU will charge £9,000 next year because:

“…whether we like it or not there’s a correlation between what you charge and people’s perception of quality. We’re quite ambitious as an institution, we want to go well beyond this notion that we’re a post-92 institution. It was a reflection of our ambition.”

If we aren’t careful, we may end up with a higher education sector where universities charge ever increasing fees, so that attendees can say they graduated from a university with the highest fees, and we are faced with a declining proportion of students from lower income backgrounds as a result.

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19 Responses to “Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees”

  1. Newbury Labour

    Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees: reports @dbr1981

  2. Jonathan Hewett

    RT @leftfootfwd: Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees: reports @dbr1981

  3. J30Strike

    Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees: reports @dbr1981

  4. Julian

    “students from lower income backgrounds” will get grants and bursaries, subsidised by students from middle income backgrounds, who have to borrow an extra £900 a year for the purpose. There needs to be better communication of what will actually happen with student finance, including the fact that students who end up in low or medium income jobs will never have to pay back all their loans.

  5. Avast Honk

    Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees: reports @dbr1981

  6. Leon Wolfson

    Julian; So they end up with debts of £7000-8000 per year. So what? The £3300 fees were already discouraging to poorer backgrounds, doubling that makes it seem a prohibitive barrier.

    And yes, they’ll never pay back their loans. For the majority of their working life, they’ll be paying high fees on a commercial loan, which will cripple their ability to obtain credit and mean they – in many, many professions – earn less than those without degrees. Simply because they won’t pay the loans off doesn’t mean they won’t pay more than the original loan amount!

    The supposed “graduate premium” of £100K is skewed by a few high earning professions. For most, it’s far less than that and doing a degree will now *cost* you money over your working life.

    Given we’ve already had falling percentages of graduates, and the plain economic link between a country’s success and percentages of graduates…

  7. Duncan Stott


    “The £3300 fees were already discouraging to poorer backgrounds” – evidence please.

    “they’ll be paying high fees on a commercial loan” – wrong. You try getting a commercial loan on the terms set out by the government for student loans.

    “will cripple their ability to obtain credit” – wrong. Student loans have no effect on credit records. In fact monthly outgoings to pay off your loan will be lower than under the previous system, and that additional income will improve the creditworthiness of graduates.

  8. Leon Wolfson

    Sorry, not “commercial loans”, “commercial *rate* loans”.

    And Student loans FORMERLY had no effect on your borrowing capacity. The new loans, being at commercial rates, WILL affect eligibility in income terms, under the rules existing in the market. Except for a very narrow band of incomes (realistically in the area where they can’t afford anything anyway), housing affordability for graduates will fall sharply.

    And *evidence*? There are quite a few studies on this, please don’t be lazy.

  9. Ed's Talking Balls

    De Montfort would be downright stupid to charge £9000 fees. It might well be a reflection of ambition, but it’s certainly not a reflection of quality or value for money.

  10. Highlander

    Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees: reports @dbr1981

  11. Leon Wolfson

    No, it’s a reflection that fees need to be close to that level, for most Universities, to break even with current spending.

  12. Ed's Talking Balls

    Fair point Leon, but that’s not what the quotation in the article says.

  13. Leon Wolfson

    I an not entirely sure why Universities have been hesitant about saying it. I’m a University VL, and the one I work for has not been willing to admit it in writing (they have, explicitly, at verbal Q&A sessions).

    I *suspect* they feel it would be prejudicial to the acceptance of their new fee arrangements. But that’s only a suspicion.

  14. Perth College SA

    RT @leftfootfwd: Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees

  15. Stow Students Assoc

    RT @leftfootfwd: Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees

  16. Jen

    I am a single parent of a 6th form student hoping to go to university next year – I earn the grand total of £7,500 per year, below the bread line. Is there any help for her – someone mentioned ”grants” – would appreciate a bit of knowledge on this. Does she have to get a form or something from her present college? If so does anyone know what happens after that – where do I post it, and who processes it ?


  17. Jen

    I did try to sell the house last year to try and raise the money for the tripled fees faced by my daughter but the housing market is sh*t and I withdrew it from sale after a year. Then she faces losing her EMA, but it seems it’s been downgraded to £20 from £30 which is a bit confusing. I thought of letting out her room to raise a bit of money for her and got a bed sofa so that she will have somewhere to sleep when home from univesity. Meanwhile I may let her room to a student at my local university – it’s like the victorian age, but it’s the only thing I can think of to help her as my minimum wage totalling £7, 500 a year doesn’t even match one year’s fees.

  18. Daniel Pitt

    Non-shock poll reveals teenagers put off by £9,000-a-year tuition fees:

  19. How the Cable/Willetts market in higher education ended up inflating fees | Left Foot Forward

    […] for quality, so resulting in universities actually competing to raise prices. As Left Foot Forward reported recently, the Vice Chancellor of De Montford University, Professor Dominic Shellard, told his […]

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