Higher fees 'will put off 40,000 students'


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More than 40,000 students will be put off going to university by the rise in tuition fees next year, according to a report published yesterday.

The report, from the Centre for the Economics of Education based at the London School of Economics, is the first attempt to put a figure on the numbers likely to be put off by tuition fees rising to up to £9,000 a year.

It suggest that more boys than girls are likely to turn their backs on education and warns that the future of some universities could be in peril as a result.

The researchers predict that 7.5 per cent of boys (around 25,000) and 4.9 per cent of girls (around 18,300) will decide against applying. Figures in June showed 366,000 girls applying and 280,000 boys.

One of the reasons put forward for the difference is that girls – in general – do better than boys at A-level and may be more determined to apply as a result.

The CEE report, compiled by Professor Peter Dolton and Li Lin, says the changes to student finance "could endanger some of the less well established institutions".

It warns there could be a "significant impact" on "poorer and less selective" universities.

The report comes on the eve of Business Secretary Vince Cable's address to vice-chancellors at the Universities UK conference today. He is expected to give an upbeat message about the future for universities.

His department said that the research had assumed there were no changes to grants and loans. "In fact, we are increasing tuition loans and raising maintenance grants as well as introducing a much more progressive repayment system," said a spokesman.

Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students, said: "This is a stark warning from a respected source and the Government should heed it."