The Independent is reporting that ethnic minorities from the poorest background may be put off University if fees are allowed to exceed £9,000.
The Does Cost Matter? report* has been produced by the National Education Opportunities Network and supported by the University and College Union (UCU).
The findings have come just a month after the Government revealed in its white paper that institutions which score highly in terms of teaching quality will be able to raise their annual fees above the current maximum of £9,000.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, described it as a “travesty” that the rising cost of tuition fees would be most likely to deter young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. She said: “Clearly, cost does matter and there is a very real danger that raising fees will damage progress made by widening participation initiatives.”
Hunt was making reference to the Government’s aim of doubling the proportion of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university, and also to increase the numbers of students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds by 20 per cent by 2020.
However, reflecting on the study’s findings, Hunt continued: “Worryingly, the study also shows that, if they do choose to go to university, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to put cost at the forefront of their decision-making, often opting for institutions close to home which offer cheaper study that can be combined with part-time work.
Do you think that it would cause a big effect on the number of disadvantaged students attending university? Is there a way to raise tuition fees and still encourage students to attend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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