Students would be willing to pay up to £23,000 in annual tuition fees, a new survey has revealed.
When asked the maximum they would be prepared to pay for a year of university education, the 223 respondents from the University of Birmingham gave a mean average of £22,770 – nearly two and a half times more than the current £9,000 fees.
Asked how much they should have to pay, however, the students, who were from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, felt that just £3,810 would be appropriate.
Senior education developer at the University of the Arts London, Elizabeth Staddon commented that the results may indicate that students “don’t feel they have a choice” about going to university due to career considerations and social circumstances.
Focus group findings showed that students were generally relaxed about debt levels, as repayments are directly deducted from their future salaries. “A number reported that they didn’t think in terms of value for money very often and that they were unconcerned about paying a debt for money that they will never see,” the paper concluded.
Nonetheless, 8.5 per cent of the Russell Group students surveyed would not have enrolled in university education if fees rose above current levels, while twice as many would not have gone if fees rose above £15,000.
Conducted by Ms Staddon alongside Jon Catling and Alison Davies of the University of Birmingham, the survey’s results were presented at the Conference of the Society for Research into Higher Education.