A new National Union of Students (NUS)/ HSBC survey has found that out of 3,863 students in the UK, almost half would have been put off university if annual fees were £5,000.
Sally Hunt, of the University and College Union, commented: “Lord Browne needs a reality check before he delivers his funding review if a fee hike is on the cards. He needs to look again at the idea of taxing big business for the substantial benefit it gains from a plentiful supply of graduates, rather than merely looking to penalise students further.”
The survey comes after it was reported that the forthcoming Browne Review of student finance is set to recommend raising fees to £7,000, and that the review team is not convinced by the proposed graduate tax system.
Hunt continued: “Increasing fees or other financial barriers to higher education is not the way to deliver a world-class university system. The uncomfortable truth is that for the vast majority of people in this country higher fees would be a disaster.”
The survey echoes a report made by the Sutton Trust earlier this year suggesting that most students would be put off studying at university if fees were to rise to £7,000. The survey revealed that 60 per cent of students believed that they should not have to pay fees and that they could not have afforded university without support from family and friends.
YUSU President, Tim Ngwena, told Nouse that the report released by the NUS “provides statistical proof of the fears that students have voiced in York and across the country, on high fees as a large, added barrier to entry. It’s important that that students get behind the upcoming national demonstration in London. YUSU will release information on its participation in the demo and how you can get involved at the start of term.”
He added that YUSU will be “waiting to see the full details of the Browne Review this October, which is unfortunately expected to recommend higher fees. Closer to home, we will be pushing for the University to come of the fence on the issue, and lay down its plans on fees for the future, now that that proposals are starting to take shape.”
NUS president, Aaron Porter, further added that the survey is “clear evidence of the need to do away with the damaging and unpopular fees system, if we are not to shut out many thousands of young people from going to university, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. The financial pressure on young people is mounting, and an increase in fees to £7,000 would, according to universities’ own figures, consign a generation to unsustainable mortgage-style debts in excess of £32.”
The Browne Review is due for release in October.
For more information on the national demonstration supported by YUSU, visit http://www.demo2010.org.