Students’ parents ‘need more information’ on finance

Ministers should focus more resources on explaining the student finance system to parents to avoid children being put off university by debt, a thinktank says.

In a report titled Access for All, published on 8 July, the Strategic Society Centre says the government should target an information campaign at parents of potential students, making it a specific policy objective next year.

It follows a study by the thinktank, which is led by former Downing Street policy adviser James Lloyd, on what factors drive young people’s worries about the cost of going to university.

The study is based on a survey of more than 5,000 young people who achieved Key Stage 4 qualifications (like GCSEs) between 2004-07 and expressed a desire to go to university.

It finds parental education, earnings and occupation are all predictors of young people’s financial concerns with the costs of university.

The children of graduates who are working in non-graduate jobs are much more likely to report worries about the costs of higher education, as were the children of parents who had no experience of higher education, the study says.

Mr Lloyd, director of the Strategic Society Centre, said: “It seems that when young people weigh up the costs and benefits of higher education, the experience of their parents is paramount.

Two in three pupils fear university costs: They worry about living expenses and not being able to earn while studying

Pupils are worried about living expenses and not being able to earn while studyinggroup of adults maths

Two-thirds of children are worried about the cost of going to university even though they think it will help them ‘get on in life’, a new survey has revealed.

They are concerned about living expenses and not being able to earn while they study while those from middle-class backgrounds are most troubled by £9,000-a-year tuition fees.

The Ipsos MORI poll for the Sutton Trust surveyed 2,595 11 to 16-year-olds.

It classified them as being in families of high, medium or low affluence based on questions about their households.

It found that students from the least affluent families (23 per cent) were more likely to cite cost as the biggest consideration when deciding whether to go onto higher education than their richer counterparts (14 per cent).

However, middle-class youngsters – who miss out on means tested maintenance grants – are most affected by tuition fees (30 per cent) when worrying about all the costs.

This compared to 28 per cent of rich students and 26 per cent of poorer ones who agreed that fees were the ‘biggest concern’.

Overall, 65 per cent of students surveyed were worried about university finances – 28 per cent cited tuition fees; 19 per cent, the cost of living and 18 per cent, not earning while studying.

Only seven per cent said they were not troubled by the cost of going to university.

Higher university tuition fees ‘putting off working-class boys’

Boys are more likely to shun university as a result of the rise in tuition fees, according to new research.

In particular, the gender gap between working class boys and girls going to university is growing, the study, by the Independent Commission on Fees, shows.

Whilst overall acceptance rates among applicants from poorer homes have remained steady, the figures show 1,700 fewer boys from the 40 per cent of neighbourhoods with the lowest higher-education participation rates were accepted into university last year.

Will Hutton, chairman of the Commission, said the study showed the first year of higher fees had produced a worrying expansion of the university gender gap.

Overall, 112,300 young males (aged 17-19) got a place at university last year, a 1.4 per cent fall on 2010, compared with 135,100 young females (a 0.9 per cent rise).

Gap between rich and poor students ‘stark’

An “unacceptably stark” difference remains between the number of rich and poor students choosing to study for a degree, says the head of the universities funding body.

University admissions: Official data, published by Ucas, shows that 18 year-olds from the wealthiest areas are still three times more likely to apply to university than those from the poorest areas.

Teenagers from poorer backgrounds remain much less likely to go to university, and to study at a top institution, according to a report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

It warns that some universities could run into trouble if they fail to attract enough students and raises concerns about a slump in the numbers of people studying part time.

The new study looks at the impact of reforms to higher education funding.

Tuition fees were trebled last autumn, with new undergraduates now charged up to £9,000 a year for a degree course.

Graduates begin paying student loans back once they are earning at least £21,000.

Graduate pay gap – women paid thousands less than men

Female graduates earn thousands of pounds less than their male counterparts, according to a report.

The pay gap persists even between men and women from the same types of university who studied the same subjects, suggests the study.

Researchers for the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu) analysed how much students who applied to higher education in 2006, earned last year.

Jane Artess, of Hecsu, said pay distribution was “strikingly uneven”.

This was despite laws designed to ensure equal access to jobs and pay, said Ms Artess,

The researchers analysed data from a longitudinal study of 17,000 recent graduates called Futuretrack. They found that the take-home pay of more than half of female graduates ranged between £15,000 and £23,999.

%d bloggers like this: