UK University Tuition Fees Are 'Bad Value For Money’ Survey Finds | TOTUM
Ben HaywardAugust 30th
2022

A majority of people believe that current university tuition fees of £9,250 are ‘bad value’, according to an opinion poll by YouGov. 

The poll of nearly 1,500 adults also showed support for graduates in England paying back a higher proportion of their student loans, with only one in five respondents saying tuition fees represent good value.

There was a split between demographics, with 69% of graduates saying that £9,250 was bad value, compared with 47% of non-graduates.

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Graduates were also found to be more pessimistic about the impact of going to university, with 44% saying most graduates would be worse off in the long run, while 37% they would be better off as increased earnings would outweigh the costs.

Nick Hillman, chief executive of the Higher Education Policy Institute, and an architect of the tuition fee and loan regime introduced in 2012, said that the perceptions of bad value for money were at odds with the popularity of going to university among school-leavers.

“University demand is higher than it has ever been before. It might seem overpriced but people are still willing to go,” Hillman said.

The survey found that 42% of voters support the current structure of tuition fees and loans in England and Wales - with support strongest among Conservative voters - while 26% supported payment out of general taxation, and 11% supported a tax paid by graduates.

When asked which party they most trusted to deal with education, 26% backed Labour, 19% backed the Conservatives and 6% the Liberal Democrats - but the highest proportion, 44%, said they didn’t know.

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The two previous general elections fought under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership have seen Labour labour campaign on abolishing tuition fees for undergraduates, but as yet, Keir Starmer’s team has not committed itself to any detailed policy regarding higher education funding. 

The results did however show widespread backing for extra bursaries for students from ‘low economic backgrounds’, with 74% in favour and just 8% opposed, while bursaries for students who ‘achieve the highest grades’ at school were backed by 56%.

There was also support for a new proposal by the government that would restrict the availability of student loans to those with minimum entry requirements. 

Of those surveyed, 65% agreed that universities ‘should not be able to offer places to people who do not have a minimum number’ of A-levels, GCSEs or equivalents, with 21% saying there should be no entry requirements at all. 

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