With the university term now at an end, we explore a recent YouGov Reports study into student finances, which reveals that although students do factor in the price of attending university when deciding to go or not, they still value the education they receive above the cost it takes to receive it, preferring to focus on the final outcome above all else.
The initial shock of the changes to the student finances system may be wearing off. While a previous YouGov study in November 2012 found that 28% of students said a university qualification would not be worth the cost of paying the new higher rates, only 16% now share that opinion. Additionally, fewer students now believe that there is a lot of pressure to go to university even though it is not right for everyone (77% in 2012, 60% now).
However, attitudes have shifted in terms of the importance of attending university with regards to future careers and the job market. In 2012, over eight in 10 (81%) thought going to university was essential for the career that they wanted to follow, falling to 67% now.
In terms of the factors influencing where a student studies, 84% say that the course they wanted to do had an influence, as did the reputation of the university/college (66%). The level of fees is a factor for 23%, up from 19% in 2012, while bursaries available to the student personally is a factor for 19%. Looking at undergraduates only, the cost factors are important for almost a third (32%). Overall, this may suggest that the imposition of higher fees has made the cost of education a higher priority and because of this the outcomes of education are also seen as more important.
Tom Rees, Research Manager, YouGov Reports, said ‘The change in the student finance system was extremely controversial, with many prospective students worried that they would be unable to afford their studies and gaining a degree, still seen by most as crucial in getting the job they want.
This research suggests that many believe that it worth going to university and paying the increased fees, hoping that their education will provide them with skills that will enable them to earn more once they enter the job market.’