Browne Review will deter Students from Low and Middle Income Families from Attending University

Research this week by The Student Room into the attitudes of future and current undergrads from Low and Middle income families reveals:

  • 40% of GCSE & A-Level students will reconsider attending university if the Browne Review fee recommendations are implemented
  • Over 65% of students from low income families planning to go to university say they would be forced to compromise what they would study and where in order to be able to afford it.
  • 71% of Students would consider studying abroad
  • 65% will consider Scottish universities to avoid high graduate debt
  • 90% feel they will need to work part time through their degree
  • 80% of current undergraduates from low income families would NOT have chosen to go to university if they had faced the graduate debt proposed in the Browne Review.
  • 80% don’t think the alternatives to attending university are clear enough

The Browne Review will deter a significant proportion of young people from low and middle income families from applying to university a major new survey reveals.

The findings come a day after Lord Browne took part in a live Q&A on The Student Room, the world’s largest student site. This was Lord Browne’s first direct engagement with students since the publication of his review into Higher Education funding which recommends the cap on tuition fees be lifted.

Other Interesting research findings show:

  • Only 15% from low income families feel they currently get value for money from their university for the amount they pay
  • 38% who voted for Lib Dem in the last election wouldn’t vote for them again
  • 19% who voted Conservative at the last election said they wouldn’t vote for them again
  • 60% of students planning to go to university would now seriously consider living at home and studying at a local university
  • 41% of students say that if they were available they’d consider a 2 year degree if fees went up
  • 80% believe a significant rise in fees will have an impact on the traditional university experience
  • 39% of students feel the graduate tax is a better option than that being proposed by the Browne Review

Jamie O’Connell, marketing director at The Student Room, said: “When Lord Browne was on The Student Room on Wednesday he explained clearly how student debt is in fact ‘graduate debt’ and that it is only repaid when a graduate is able to repay it. However there is a fear factor involved for students, being £30,000+ in debt is a scary concept at a young age; it goes against many people’s principles. This research confirms that students from low and middle income families will be deterred from going to university. The knock on effect for social mobility in the country is highly concerning.

Another concern highlighted by this research is that the alternatives to attending university are very unclear to young people. Even if there were enough apprenticeships they aren’t suitable for all professions and all people. As well as better careers advice in schools (as the Browne Review recommends) FE institutes need to step up and plug the gap with quality, affordable, flexible study options.”

Notes to editors

The other main concern highlighted by this research is that the alternatives to attending university are very unclear to young people. Even if there were enough apprenticeships they aren’t suitable for all professions and all people. As well as better careers advice in schools (as the Browne Review recommends) FE institutes need to step up and plug the gap with quality, affordable, flexible study options.”

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