Tuition fees and their impact on university choices

By Avarina Wilson-Dyer-Gough

What is the impact of the rise in tuition fees on how young people perceive the need to go to university? Has it affected their value perception of university or their choice of which country they study in?

Impact of tuition fees

The rise in tuition fees and proposed changes to maintenance grants haven’t stopped record numbers of students signing up, however, the young people questioned in our focus group are more conscious of the level of debt they will undertake and pay back afterwards. So much so, that they actively discussed the need to work part-time while at university to assist with the costs.

However, the participants have always planned to go to university regardless of the increased costs. They still want to move away from home and pay more because it is seen as an integral part of the university experience. Their view is that independence, both physically and financially, helps to grow a person, teaching them new skills and views.

A perceived benefit of the rise in costs, is the belief that it has led to a filtering of applicants; people only attend university if they actually want to go to learn. This in turn means that there is a perceived better learning experience due to the higher level and dedication of students attending. However, interestingly, the perceived percentage of people attending university isn’t necessarily lower than before the rise in fees.

Studying abroad

None of participants are interested in studying abroad, even after the rise in tuition fees. They place high value on having a really British university experience and the perceived value of a British degree when applying for jobs.

The only reason they might consider studying abroad would be due to the cheaper costs of living and studying, citing the USA for its scholarships.