Student choices: Raid the family fortune?

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There are going to be some interesting family discussions when the university bills come in if The Independent's survey is anything to go by. If the top universities are ever permitted to go ahead with the imposition of top-up fees - the idea will be banned by the Education Bill going through Parliament - 70 per cent of students interviewed are confident their long-suffering parents will pay for them.

l More than half are also sure that their parents will pay at least half of the pounds 1000 fee bill which will be imposed on new students this October and 20 per cent expect them to pay the lot. Students are much less confident that parents will stump up for living expenses, with girls' expectations higher than boys.

l But there may be some disillusion ahead. Only 37 per cent of parents said they might be likely to pay top up fees for a place at a "better" university, if charging were permitted.

More boys than girls expect their parents to cough up for fees.

Students in the Midlands are more likely to expect their parents to be generous over fees than those in the north or south.

71 per cent of students from homes in social classes A and B expect parents to pay their fees compared to only 46 per cent of those from the poorest homes.

Only nine per cent of students expect their parents to cover all their living expenses, with 36 per cent hoping for more than half.

62 per cent of students in social classes A and B think their parents will pay more than half their living expenses, compared to 42 per cent in social classes C2, D and E.

68 per cent of parents in social classes C2, D and E say they would be unlikely to pay top-up fees for a "better" university.