Poorer students aren’t applying to university because of fears of high debts

With various political parties pledging to abolish or alter tuition fees, the question of how to fund higher education is squarely back on the political agenda.


The Conservative government has argued in favour of tuition fees and student loans. It confidently declared that neither the abolition of undergraduate grants – which happened in 2016 – nor the proposed rise of full-time undergraduate tuition fees to £9,250 later this year will deter disadvantaged students from going to university.


But our recently published research shows this is actually not the case. It seems a “fear of debt” is a significant deterrent for many students who are taking A-levels and are wondering whether to go to university. And this is particularly the case for those students from poorer backgrounds.


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