Student choices: Mums and daughters united against changes to charges

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There is a significant gender gap in public perception of the changes.

Female students and mothers come out of this survey as significantly more opposed to the Government's policy on fees and loans than their menfolk, but also more likely to change their behaviour in response to the new policy.

The cautious female reaction to the changes may be due to the knowledge that women still earn less on average than men and will find paying back loans that much harder.

Two-thirds of mothers strongly disagree with the switch from maintenance grants to loans, compared to 58 per cent of fathers.

Three-quarters of the girls interviewed oppose the ending of grants compared to 71 per cent of boys.

Girls are even more strongly opposed to the introduction of the pounds 1,000 tuition fee: 84 per cent of them are against it, compared to 80 per cent of boys.

Mothers are more likely than fathers to feel that the new financial arrangements might make them less inclined to encourage their children to go to university: 57 per cent of mums feel less encouraging, compared to 41 per cent of dads.

Just under two-thirds of mothers will be more likely to suggest that their children go to a local university and live at home. Only 49 per cent of fathers feel the same way.

Mothers will be more likely than fathers to encourage children to choose shorter courses and more vocational subjects.

Girls are more likely than boys to have discussed the financing of their university studies with their parents, although less than half the students of either sex had got around to that.

Girls are more optimistic than boys about their parents helping to fund their studies, but 62 per cent of them expect to take a job while they are studying, compared to 52 per cent of boys.