Over half of London-based students believe that tuition fees are paid in advance, new research shows. The poll, conducted by the University of Roehampton, found that 44% of students nationally thought they would have to pay tuition fees before starting a course, and this figure rose to 51% amongst London students.
In addition to this, one in five incorrectly thought that fee debts would appear on credit rating files, and more than two-thirds of students studying in London said the increase in fees had made university a less attractive option.
Paul O’Prey, Vice-Chancellor of Roehampton University, said that confusion about tuition fees had almost certainly affected university applications in England, which decreased following the rise in tuition fees to £9,000, “We need to get the message across that it is likely that graduates with loans for tuition fees will be paying less year on year than graduates who started their university careers in previous years.”
Despite this, Universities Minister, David Willetts insisted that there is still a strong demand for university places and pointed out that this year has seen “the second highest rate of applications on record”.
He addressed the fact that applications have fallen, saying that “the very big factor is the decline in the number of 18-year-olds; the number of young people is declining because of a fall in the birth rate about 20 years ago”.
Ellis Schindler and Fiona Crosby