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50% of young people are worried about the cost of university

Ambition to go to university remains strong with 75% of young people thinking it is likely they will attend. However nearly half are worried about the cost implications, according to new polling by the Sutton Trust.


Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said that it was “encouraging to see that aspirations among our young people remain high.

“Our previous research has shown how important aspirations can be in shaping a young person’s outcomes after GCSE so it is encouraging to see that aspirations amongst our young people remain high.

“However there is still a minority who think that university isn’t for them, or that they aren’t clever enough to go. We know from previous research pupils from poorer households are more likely to be in this group. The axing of maintenance grants loads up poorer students with even more debt on top of the current debt levels which are more than double the United States.  Even if it does not deter poorer students from applying, the debt levels they incur are storing up major problems for them in the future.”

The Sutton Trust polled 2,555 young people between the ages of 11 and 16 and found that three-quarters of them felt that it was very or fairly likely that they would enrol in higher education.


Overall, girls were slightly more aspirational about going to university than boys, however just one in 10 respondents said it was unlikely that they would go to university.

But despite having the ambition to continue learning, 47% of students were worried about the cost implications of going to university as tuition fees continue to rise and maintenance grants are scrapped.

Keeping up with loan repayments after university and the cost of living as a student were key areas of anxiety amongst those considering higher education.

Rising ambitions

The Sutton Trust, founded by Sir Peter Lampl, has conducted a similar survey every year for the past 13 years. In that time the proportion of young people who expect to go to university has increased by six percentage points.

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