An Investigation into the Impact of Increased University Tuition Fees in the UK on University Aspirations among Students of Varied Ethnicity and Socio-economic Status

By Catherine Glaister.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 26, 2015 $US5.00

Against an international backdrop of an ideological shift in responsibility for tuition fees from the state to the individual, the study explores the impact on aspirations amongst minority groups, specifically British Pakistani students of lower –socio economic status, of the significant increase in tuition fees in the UK from 2012. An inductive approach has generated rich data capturing the student voice. Two schools have been chosen as depth case studies with focus groups and interviews with students and staff generating primary data which has been triangulated with secondary data and a literature review. The vast majority of students have high levels of financial anxiety but remain positively orientated to university irrespective of socio-economic status or ethnicity. The fee increase has impacted strongly on subject choice with bias towards vocational subjects and little consideration of the self within the decision making process. Focusing at the learning level, the impact of fee increases on subject choices suggests the need to maximise employability offerings within both vocational and non-vocational options. Students lack support in optimising HE choices and managing anxiety, with potential for educators in schools and universities to contribute.

Keywords: University Access, University tuition fees, Diversity, Participation, Opportunity,

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 22, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.25-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 401.646KB)).

Catherine Glaister

Senior Lecturer, Department of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management, Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK