Poor Background Students: Are They Benefitting From Increased UK Tuition Fees?

uk tuition feesThe majority of undergraduate students in the UK have recently been hit by massive rise in UK tuition fees, but aside from cash-strapped universities receiving more income, it seems that there are other beneficiaries from the government’s controversial move.

Poorer Pay Less in UK Tuition Fees According To Study

According to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), since tuition fees were first raised back in 2006, the gap between richer and poorer students attending university has narrowed significantly. This suggests that more working-class youngsters are taking the risk of studying for a degree, but why?
Since the cap on tuition fees was raised from £1,000 to £3,000 a year, it seems that those from wealthier backgrounds were harder hit than students who came from more modest backgrounds. The reason for that is poorer students were either entitled to discounts or totally exempt from paying tuition fees. Some believe that the system introduced in time for the 2006-2007 academic year was actually fairer than what came before it.

Although participation in higher education by those from the most deprived backgrounds is still low (just 19% in 2009-10), it has gone up in recent years, while the gap between rich and poor students going to university has narrowed slightly in favour of those who’ve had more deprived childhoods. In 2004-05, the gap between rich and poor students going to university was 40%, but it has shrunk slightly to 37%, with 55% of those from wealthier backgrounds going to university compared to 18% at the opposite end of the spectrum.

While this news is encouraging for those who want to see more people who might worry about the cost of studying for a degree full-time go to university, the impact of the latest rise in UK tuition fees to around the £9,000 mark could have a significant impact on student numbers. While Claire Crawford, the author of the IFS report said “The drop in university applications may not herald a longer-term decline in university applications”, other organizations were less optimistic.

Despite that, if you’re a student who wonders how they may be able to pay for a three-year course, it’s worth looking at what financial help may or may not be available to you. If your parents earn less than the average income, it’s likely that you may not have to pay the full amount for tuition fees. Meanwhile, it’s also possible that some universities will do their utmost to attract high-achieving poorer students in the way of discounts.

Across the world we are being hit with higher tuition fees?  Do you have any particular experience where your background allowed you to receive a substantial discount on your UK tuition fees?

If you are interested in guest posting take a look at our Contact page.

About the author:
Leonard Brown is an academic who works with sites like UK-Essay on a freelance basis on issues such as student finance and wrote this great article on looking at UK tuition fees and your background.