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30th May, 2013

Two thirds of 11-16 year olds have university finance fears - new Sutton Trust/Ipsos MORI survey

Two thirds of school children worry about the cost of going to university, a new Ipsos MORI poll of 2,595 11-16 year-olds for the Sutton Trust reveals today, even though their aspirations for a higher education remain as high as ever.

65% of all the young people polled had significant concerns about university finance which break down as follows: 28% were concerned about tuition fees; 19% were concerned about student living costs and 18% were concerned about lack of earnings while studying. Only 7% said they were not concerned about the cost of going to university.

And although 67% of young people said the most important consideration when deciding whether or not to go to university would be their exam grades, 17% said it would be the cost of going to university.

But students from the least affluent families (23%) are much more likely to cite cost as the biggest consideration than those from the most affluent families (14%).

However, university aspirations remain high. 86% of those surveyed believe going to university is important in 'helping people do well and get on in life', with 43% rating it 'very important'.

38% of young people say they are very likely to go to university when they are older, and 43% say they are fairly likely to do so. This is the same proportion as last year when the same question was asked. A higher proportion of Black and Minority Ethnic students (49%) say they are very likely to go to university than White students (35%).

Of those who say they are unlikely to go into higher education, 49% say they would prefer to do something practical, 57% cite financial considerations and 41% think they are not clever enough. 18% say 'people like me are not expected to go to university'.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today: "It is clear from this poll that many young people remain worried about the cost of higher education. Graduates face debts of over 40,000 with the higher fees and many will be paying for their university studies into their fifties.

"While there may have been some uplift in university applications this year, student numbers are not yet back to 2010 levels. We are urging the Government to means test university fees, as used to be the case, so that those from low and middle income families pay less for tuition".l


Q: Which ONE of the following do you think will be the most important consideration when you are deciding whether to go to university?


Q: Thinking about the cost of going to university, which ONE of the following is the biggest concern for you?



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