Tuition fee hike hit courses with low salary expectations

The introduction of £9,000 (US$13,300) tuition fees in England had a greater negative impact on applications to courses that are likely to lead to poorly paid careers, new research suggests, writes Chris Havergal for Times Higher Education.

Filipa Sa, senior lecturer in economics at King’s College London, analysed the effect of the 2012 funding reforms on university applications and attendance compared with what would otherwise have been expected. Her research, presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference on 1 April, was based on UCAS statistics and used Scotland – where free tuition was maintained – as a control.

Sa told the conference that the increase in fees had led to a reduction in applications by English-domiciled students in 2012-13 of between 18% and 22%. The data imply that a 1% increase in tuition fees leads to a fall in applications of between 0.14% and 0.23%. Sa added that the results varied by course according to expected employment prospects, with applications to courses predicted to lead to the lowest salaries falling by between 20% and 28%. In contrast, applications to courses with the highest expected salaries post-graduation fell by between 10% and 20%. Sa said her research suggested that different fees should be charged for different courses.
Full report on the Times Higher Education site