A survey has revealed that graduates are more likely to support increased tuition fees and a reduction in the number of university places.
Thirty per cent of graduates believe that opportunities to enter higher education should be reduced and 18 per cent think that all students should pay tuition fees, according to figures published this week by the National Centre for Social Research.
The British Social Attitudes Survey also said that 51 per cent of university alumni questioned believed students should take out loans to cover fees and living expenses.
In comparison, 31 per cent those without any qualifications said more opportunities to attend university should be created, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) in favour of all students being given a grant to subsidise the cost of education.
And 21 per cent of respondents without any qualifications said they were in favour of free education for all students.
The authors of the section of the report dealing with fees, Anna Zimdars, Alice Sullivan and Anthony Heath, said: “These findings provide some support for the suggestion that an ‘elitist’ strand of opinion might exist among graduates and the managerial and professional classes that wants to reduce access to higher education and make those who do reach university pay for it themselves.”
The survey, which took place after the May 2010 general election, but before the Browne review was published, also suggested that the public has generally grown to accept changes made to higher education policy in recent years.
Public opposition to tuition fees fell from 25 per cent in 2007, to 16 per cent last year.