The NUS/HSBC Student Experience 2010 report on finance and funding released today shows two-thirds (70%) of students say an increase in fees to £7,000 would deter them from going to university.
The new figures follow reports this morning that the Chair of the Government review into university funding and student finance, Lord Browne has rejected Business Secretary Vince Cable's proposals for a graduate tax scheme to replace top-up fees in favour of a hike in fees to £7,000.
A report published by vice chancellors' body Universities UK last year showed an increase in the cap on fees to £7,000 would leave students with an average debt of £32,000 on graduation*.
The NUS/HSBC survey also showed almost half of all students (47%) receive financial support from friends and family in order to cover the costs of going to university, an increase of nearly 10% in just two years1. The amount of students in the lowest socio-economic group able to rely on this support has dropped dramatically in the last year whilst those in the highest groups are now more likely to lean on family to help cover university costs2.
“Student finances are already at breaking point and this is clear evidence of the need to do away with the damaging and unpopular fees system, if we are not to shut out many thousands of young people from going to university, particularly those from poorer backgrounds."
"The financial pressure on young people is mounting, and an increase in fees to £7,000 would, according to universities' own figures, consign a generation to unsustainable mortgage-style debts in excess of £32,000."
When asked how they would prefer to contribute, should individuals be asked to contribute more to the cost of higher education, the NUS/HSBC survey shows two-thirds (66%) opposed a rise in fees as the source of this contribution.
“A progressive graduate contribution linked to real earnings would leave students able to apply to university without the fear of debt looming over them – students recognise this, widely seeing it as a fairer way of raising additional revenues."
"We agree with Vince Cable's description of the top-up fees system as a 'poll tax' and are pleased that every single Liberal Democrat MP has pledged to vote against higher fees and press for a fairer alternative."
Helen Gentry, HSBC's Youth and Student Manager, said:
“It’s so easy for new students to lose track of their spending, especially if they are not used to budgeting and handling relatively large lump sums of money.
"Students who don’t budget may find that they need to work or rely more heavily on 'the Bank of Mum and Dad' to cover costs in their final year. From a parent's perspective, like myself, it just reinforces the importance of putting money aside early in our children's lives to help support them in the future."