I am not sure how often this needs to be asserted. But let’s keep doing so all the same. As CentreForum has repeatedly argued – most recently in Time’s Up, a paper directed at the Liberal Democrats’ determination to scrap tuition fees, at great expense – the current way in which tuition fees are paid for does NOT put off the really disadvantaged from studying.
The latest evidence is from the funding agency Hefce. It finds:
Youngsters in the poorest areas are 30% more likely to go to university than they were five years ago . . . A fifth of the poorest youngsters go to university, up from an eighth in 2004
I don’t wish to rub it in. But the pro-tuition fees side of the argument really has won. And as the fiscal squeeze makes awkward choices ever more awkward, this may even filter down to the most determined activist.
Oh, and it looks like the IFS agrees:
Reforms to tuition fees and student support had no overall impact on the number of 18 or 19 year olds attending university in England