University Tuition Fees Research

University Tuition Fees Research

Respondents were first presented with the following question:

?The House of Common?s recently voted to approve plans to allow universities to charge
tuition fees of £6,000 a year and up to £9,000 in “exceptional circumstances”. Until now, the
cap on tuition fees has been set at £3,290.?

?Do you agree, or disagree, with the Government?s raising of tuition fees??

  • Overall, 31% were in agreement with the raise, while 50% were not in favour. Among
    those in agreement, 13% agreed strongly with the change in fees. This compares to
    31% who strongly disagreed.
  • Those who would vote Conservative showed the highest level of agreement
    (60%), however, 23% still disagreed. Among Liberal democrat supporters,
    37% agreed with the raise, while 44% did not. In contrast, among Labour
    supporters agreement fell to just 15%, with 73% disagreeing with the decision
    to raise fees.

Asked ?Approximately, how much do you think university tuition fees should be per year??:

  • On average, respondents felt tuition fees should be set at £3,458 per annum, just
    £168 more than the previous cap.
  • Almost a fifth (19%) felt tuition fees should be £6,000 per year or more, while one in
    ten (10%) felt they should be £9,000 per year or more.
  • Would-be Conservative voters thought yearly tuition fees should be higher
    (£4,967 on average) than both Liberal supporters (£3,644 on average) and
    Labour voters (£2,545 on average).
  • Those currently studying felt fees should be set at £2,809 per year on
    average, while those who had already been to university felt they should be
    slightly higher (£3,128 on average). Those who had not been to university and
    had no intention to do so felt fees should be highest (£3,771 on average).

Respondents were then presented with a number of statements surrounding the issue of
university education, and asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed.

?British Universities should charge higher tuition fees to international students in order to
subsidise the education of home students.?

  • 70% agreed with this statement, while one in ten (10%) disagreed.
  • Would-be Conservative voters were most likely to agree (78%), with Lib-Dems (62%)
    and non-voters (55%) least likely to do so.

?Increased university funding should be provided through a ?graduate tax? on income following

  • 44% agreed with the idea of a graduate tax, while 19% disagreed.
  • Those currently studying were less likely to agree (33%) than those who had already
    been to university (42%), with those who had not been and had no intention to most
    likely to agree (46%).

?The increase in fees will reduce the number of students going into university to do ?Mickey
Mouse? degrees.?

  • 69% agreed, with just 8% in disagreement. Almost a third (29%) strongly agreed.

?Higher education should be free.?

  • 42% agreed that higher education should be free, with 23% agreeing strongly. In
    comparison, 31% disagreed.
  • Among Conservatives, 27% agreed. This compares to 57% of Labour supporters and
    44% of Liberal Democrats.

?The increase in fees will mean only the ‘well off’ will get to go to university and access to the better jobs.?

  • 60% agreed with this, compared to a fifth (20%) who disagreed.
  • 81% of Labour voters agreed. This compared to 33% among Conservatives.

?Levels of fees should be set according to results of a mean test, rather than be set between £6,000 and £9,000.?

  • 51% agreed fees should be set according to means tests, while 21% disagreed.

?The Government should focus on the creation of jobs more than raising fees, to cater for all
the people who will now be put off higher education.?

  • Just 8% disagreed with this statement, while 64% agreed. Among those studying at
    university currently, this rose to 74%.

?All universities will charge the top rate because they will not want to be seen in offering a
‘lower’ fee (subsequently a lesser education/service).?

  • 51% agreed, while 16% disagreed with this statement. Agreement rose to 61%
    among those currently studying, falling to 47% among those with no intention of going
    to university.

Under a fifth (19%) think Nick Clegg made the right decision to back the rise in university
tuition fees, compared to 46% who think he made the wrong decision. However, 29% believe
he really didn?t have a choice.

  • Among would-be Liberal Democrat voters, 25% agree Nick Clegg made the right
    choice, and 32% the wrong choice, while 41% think he did not really have a choice.

While 12% fully support the actions of the student protestors, over half (52%) support them
but feel some have gone too far. Over a third (36%) do not support the student protestors.

  • 25% currently studying at university fully support the actions of the protestors,
    compared to 19% who do not support them. 57% support them, but feel some have gone too far.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,051 British adults aged 18+ from 10th to 13th December 2010. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.