£5K is limit for postgrad study

June 2, 2006

Review helps UK target 'hidden' students, writes Olga Wojtas.

Most students contemplating postgraduate study are not willing to pay more than £5,000 a year in fees, according to research.

The survey reveals remarkably similar attitudes among prospective students in different universities. The results emerge from the largest survey of intentions and attitudes among future postgraduates in the Hobsons postgraduate recruitment review in association with The Times Higher . The survey canvassed 5,600 students, mostly British, who want to go on to do postgraduate degrees.

An average of per cent of students said they would pay between £3,000 and £5,000 a year, ranging from 25 per cent in small post-92 universities to 30 per cent in the 94 Group of smaller research-intensive universities. An average of 21 per cent of students said they would pay between £1,000 and £2,000. But 9 per cent of Russell Group students and 6 per cent of pre-92 students overall would not pay more than £1,000 for postgraduate study.

An average of 14 per cent would accept paying £5,000 to £10,000 a year, with the highest proportion, 17 per cent, coming from the 94 Group institutions, according to the study. Russell Group students were prepared to invest the most - 4 per cent said they would pay between £15,000 and £20,000, compared with 1 per cent of respondents from the large post-92 universities. Overseas students were willing to pay an average of Pounds 10,000-£15,000.

Most UK postgraduates face annual fees of about £3,000 for PhDs and £4,000 for taught masters courses, although some courses can cost Pounds 12,000-plus.

Louise Wringe, head of education research at Hobsons, said: "UK institutions find postgraduate students notoriously difficult to access, but they are increasingly a recruitment priority. This review gives institutions the market intelligence they need."

Survey respondents say they are relatively concerned about postgraduate costs, but want to do a postgraduate degree because they are passionate about their subject and because it will make them more employable.

The clearest distinction between types of institution emerges in their extra-mural activities. More than 70 per cent of 94 Group and 61 per cent of Russell Group students have joined student societies, compared with 20 per cent in small post-92 universities. Thirty per cent of 94 Group and 23 per cent of pre-92 university students have been in student sports teams compared with 10 per cent in small post-92 universities.

olga.wojtas@thes.co.uk

To view the full report, contact: louise.wringe@hobsons.co.uk

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