Fear of debt and cost concerns could be deterring large numbers of young people from going to university, a survey has found.
About 36% of students from single parent households say they are unlikely to go into higher education because their family could not afford it compared with 13% of those in two-parent homes, according to an Ipsos Mori polling commissioned by education charity Sutton Trust.
Older pupils are more likely to cite worries over getting into debt as a reason for saying they are unlikely to continue into higher education.
Nearly 30% of those in Year 10 and 11 cite debt as a barrier, three times more than Year Seven pupils.
About 63% of pupils think that elite universities like Oxford and Cambridge are more expensive for students than other universities, and more than half say that they are mainly attended by those from wealthy backgrounds. About 27% say that elite universities “are not for people like me”.
Although 81% of all 11-16 year olds felt they were “very” or “fairly likely” to enter higher education this fell to 74% for those from the least affluent families, the survey found.
Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said it was a real concern if those with the ability for higher education are deterred by debt.
He said a recent report by the Independent Commission on Fees found that if recent trends were maintained, around one in 20 young people who would have been expected to apply to university in 2012 did not do so. This equated to about 15,000 “missing” young applicants.
“It is particularly worrying that our leading universities are perceived as being more expensive than other universities,” Sir Peter said. “Even before the recent increase in fees, we estimated that 3,000 students a year with good enough A-levels in the right subjects to get in were missing out on top universities, often because they failed to apply.
“The Government should think again about its fees and loans package. Ministers should consider means testing fees, so that merit not money is the key consideration in a young person’s decision.”
Source: AOL Money