Articles for May 2012

10 charts that show the effect of tuition fees

University tuition fees in England have become a political battleground with renewed calls that they should be scrapped.

When they were increased a few years ago to 9,000 they became a literal battleground, with activists clashing with police on the streets around Westminster.

1. How do England’s fees compare with other countries?Students in England leave university with higher debts than almost anywhere else in the developed world, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said this week.

Charging 9,250 a year for an undergraduate degree makes England a real outlier by international standards.

Much of Europe still sticks with low fees or no fees and Germany, which used to charge fees, has scrapped them.

There are also lower costs in many European countries where many more students live at home.

The only country with comparable fees is the United States.

But the US is not a straightforward comparison because courses are four years rather than three and any “average” covers a hugely diverse market.

Top private colleges can charge more than 30,000 per year while state colleges can charge local students less than fees in England.

The University of Washington has lower annual fees than the University of Wolverhampton and until the pound’s value slipped, fees would have been cheaper at UCLA in California than UCLAN in Preston.

In New York state, with a population bigger than many European countries, fees are being scrapped for families earning less than about 100,000.

But there is another very important aspect to all this England’s system requires no money up front and repayment depends on earning at least 21,000.

2. Have higher tuition fees deterred people from applying?Not in the long term.

Student numbers have increased relentlessly, regardless of funding changes, fees and economic ups and downs. It represents a huge aspirational demand for higher education.

It’s easy to forget what a massive change this represents.

In 1980, there were only 68,000 people starting university this autumn there will be more than 500,000. Twice as many people are now getting a degree as were getting five O levels in the early 1980s.

Applications have dipped only three times on each occasion when fees were introduced or increased but they have always recovered.

And one of the main arguments in favour of fees has been that such wide access is unsustainable unless students make a contribution to the cost.

In the early 1980s only about Cheap Jerseys,Wholesale Football Jerseys Authentic one in six young people could expect to go to university now, for girls at least, it’s over half.

3. Have higher fees closed the door to poorer students?Students from all backgrounds are more likely to go to university than ever before including the poorest.

There are different ways of identifying disadvantaged students either living in areas where few people go to university, having been eligible for free wholesale world cup jerseys meals at school or under measures of multiple deprivation.

And they all show the same pattern more of these youngsters are going to university, with the numbers rising through the years of fee increases.

But there is another important dimension to this. Poorer youngsters are still much less likely to go to university than their better off classmates.

There is a brutal economic symmetry to this. Each upward notch in affluence is linked to a higher entry rate into university.

There are also significant cross currents of gender and geography. Women are 35% more likely to go to university than men, and youngsters in London are more likely to go to university than anywhere else in the UK.

There are ethnic differences too, with poor white men, in places such as north east England, the least likely to get university places.

A high earning graduate could pay back 40,000 in interest charges, on top of repaying the amount they have borrowed.

These figures could go even higher. Interest rates are linked to inflation and if that begins to rise, then so will the amount charged for repayments.