Almost seven out of ten Scots believe student loans make it less likely that young people will go on to higher education, according to a poll commissioned by the Educational Institute of Scotland.
The poll, of more than 1,000 adults over 16, is the first stage of an education survey. It found that 68 per cent saw loans as a disincentive, but among parents the figure reached 75 per cent.
According to 63 per cent, only the well-off are in a position to benefit from further and higher education, while 61 per cent believe there are not enough opportunities for post-school education and training.
System 3, which conducted the poll, concludes: "There are clear impressions of a two-tier system of education developing in Scotland."
Ronnie Smith, EIS general secretary, said underfunding was clearly revealed as a main concern in the run-up to the general election, with most parents saying the parties' policies would influence the way they voted. "Political parties in Scotland ignore at their peril the significance of the findings in this survey," he said.
Only 10 per cent had heard of Scottish Office reform of the post-16 examination system in 1998 that will merge academic and vocational qualifications.