“Lower fees and increased grants could help more go to university” research says

“Lower fees and increased grants could help more go to university” expert research says.

Dr Gill Wyness, Lecturer in Economics at UCL Institute of Education says:

“What you think of the Labour party’s policy to reduce the fee cap to £6,000 per year depends on whose perspective you take.

This policy is bad news for universities – even though Labour intend to compensate them for the loss in fee income, a larger part of their budget would become reliant on Government.

The policy also does little to help poor graduates – they don’t earn enough to repay their loans even at £6,000 so could never benefit from a fee cut – the only beneficiaries among graduates would be high earners.

But for those young people deciding whether or not to go to university – particularly the debt averse – the fee cut could be welcome news. Research shows that many young people are still put off from going to university because of the cost.

Moreover, Labours plan to increase maintenance grants could result in an increase in participation. Research shows that maintenance grants have a positive impact on participation, with a £1,000 increase in grants resulting in a 3.95 percentage point increase in participation.

Note to journalists: the research on the impact of the cost of going to university is:  (McGuigan, McNally & Wyness: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/publications/papers/viewAbstract?dp_id=8596

The research on maintenance grants is:  (see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775714000910) (Dearden, Fitzsimons & Wyness)

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