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Sunday, June 13, 1999 Published at 22:57 GMT 23:57 UK


Pupils put off university, says survey

Young people are expecting financial hardship at university

An increasing number of sixth formers say that tuition fees have made them consider not going to university, says research.

According to a survey of young people's attitudes to finance, commissioned by the NatWest bank, almost 40% of sixth formers say they have considered alternatives to going onto higher education - specifically because of the £1,000 per year tuition fees.

This compares with less than 20% of sixth formers last year claiming to have reconsidered going to university because of tuition fees.

The heightened concerns over tuition fees follow a number of demonstrations against the fees - including occupations of buildings at Oxford, Goldsmiths College and Sussex University.

But the government has consistenly defended its introduction of tuition fees with statistics showing that university applications from school leavers are continuing to rise.

Although young people might be thinking twice about the extra cost of tuition fees and student loans, admissions service figures have shown no sign that it is enough to stop young people applying.

The survey, in comparison to responses last year, also suggests that sixth formers are increasingly expecting to face financial hardship while at university.

More than 90% of today's sixth formers expect to have work part-time to support themselves while studying - compared with 72% last year - and sixth formers expect to spend less on clothes and alcohol than last year's survey.

Gap years, taken between leaving school and starting university, are also becoming a more common way of earning money to help fund students through university, the survey found.

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