Higher fees a major impediment to higher study, poll finds

Fears about the future of postgraduate study in the UK have been raised by a survey which suggests that many current students would not embark on postgraduate study if they had to pay undergraduate tuition fees of £9,000 a year.

May 24, 2011

A total of 672 students (made up of undergraduates and postgraduates) were questioned for the poll by The Student Room website, and a third say that tuition fees of the level planned by many institutions from 2012-13 would put them off further study.

In addition, two-thirds of respondents say that the biggest impediment to postgraduate study is the expense, with just over half citing the lack of funding options as a major problem.

The findings follow concerns raised following the Browne Review of university fees and funding that not enough attention had been paid to the difficulties faced by postgraduates.

In March, the government announced that Sir Adrian Smith, director general for knowledge and innovation at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, had been asked to reconvene his review panel to examine the issue.

The alarm sounded by the survey follows a warning last week by Gareth Thomas, the Labour shadow universities minister, that up to a third of overseas postgraduate students may fail to take up their places this autumn as a result of visa changes.

Mr Thomas said there was “growing concern” that the new English language requirements that came into force in April would have a devastating impact on students already offered places for 2011-12 based on the previous rules.

However, a BIS spokeswoman said that ministers were “aware of this situation and understand the difficulties some universities may find themselves in”.

She said the department was “in touch with the UK Border Agency with a view to finding a workable solution”.

john.gill@tsleducation.com

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