Student choices: Where will your money be going?

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
For a Government allegedly adept at the black arts of spin, the launch of the new policies for student finance seems to have gone off particularly badly. Only five per cent of the young people interviewed, and 15 per cent of their parents, feel well informed about the changes. These are all families within a little over a year of A-Levels, some only months away. Well over half of those interviewed did not feel that they had enough information, including 15 per cent who felt that they were not informed at all.

But views were very mixed on who should be responsible for passing on the details of the new system. More was expected of schools and universities than of the Government and only two per cent of those interviewed thought that UCAS should be passing on information of this sort.

Students and parents were most confused about where the fee income would go, although they were very clear indeed on where it should go: 82 per cent of them said it ought to go to the universities directly, with a third conceding that some might be used for other services like schools and hospitals. Only two per cent thought the Treasury should get any of it.

In fact, fee bills will be sent out by the universities, based on a parental means test. Parents earning less than pounds 23,000 will pay nothing, those on more than pounds 35,000 will pay the full whack. The universities will keep the fees and the government will make up the pounds 1000 per student where it has been reduced or remitted. There is no loan scheme available for the payment of fees.

Overall, students felt less well informed than their parents.

Girls and their mothers felt less well informed than boys and fathers.

Among parents, those in social classes C2, D and E felt least well informed.

Fathers felt particularly strongly that the Government should be responsible for providing information on the changes.

Girls felt particularly strongly that their schools should be informing them.

Only a third of those interviewed thought that fee income would be passed to the universities. Some 22 per cent thought it would go directly to the Treasury and 48 per cent thought it might be split between the two.

More parents than students thought that the Treasury would take the cash, with mothers and professional parents being particularly certain that this would be the destination for their children's fees.

82 per cent of students and 89 per cent of parents believe that fees should go directly to the universities.