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Number of students intending to go to university falls to its lowest percentage for eight years

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A survey carried out by The Sutton Trust has revealed that the percentage of young people planning to go to university is at its lowest for eight years.

Credit: The Conversation

The survey, which involved 2,881 students aged 11-16 across the UK, found that the likelihood that students felt they would attend university has fallen, whilst concerns regarding student debt have risen.

Financial worries appear to be the main reason for the drop as the study goes on to reveal that both the percentage of those who stated worries about tuition fees and paying back loans has increased, as has the number of low-income households, who said they had no interest in attending university.

The Sutton Trust revealed that the percentage of young people who stated they are interested in going into higher education was at its lowest since 2009, with 2017’s figures showing 74% of those surveyed being either very or fairly likely to go to university. This figure is down from the Trust’s recorded high of 81% in 2013 and further down from last year’s survey, which recorded 77%.

Despite the fact the percentage of students looking to attend university but are harbouring worries about the cost has been decreasing in recent years, it has shot back up to 51% this time around. This further shows how the huge cost of attending university is significantly affecting young people’s mindset when it comes to making a decision on higher education.

The Trust left two recommendations for the government to consider in order to improve the figures, including a call to “reform the student funding system”, enabling poorer students to face lower costs, and also for students to be ensured a “fair deal” on loan repayments.

The drop comes in a year that has also seen a decrease in both university student satisfaction as well as the number of university applicants.

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