I worked at Durham University in 2011 and the impact that raising tuition fees to £9,000 a year from under £4,000, was huge.
The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) was on the prowl for any signs that increased fees were deterring those from poorer backgrounds from going to university and the policy was roundly condemned as a disgrace by the Labour party also consigning the Liberal Democrats to electoral oblivion for their blatant U-turn.
“The Independent Commission on Fees found that applications from areas with historically low numbers of young people progressing into higher education showed an increase in 2013 compared with 2010, the year before the rise in fees from £3,375 to £9,000 was first announced.
“It also found that the number of 18-year-olds applying from poorer areas included a small rise in applications to England's 30 most selective universities – including Oxford, UCL and Manchester – a fact welcomed by Offa, the higher education access watchdog.” – Richard Adams the education editor at The Guardian
All credit to The Guardian for not burying this story but it is still a little known fact that the policy on tuition fees although not perfect, as access for mature students has declined, has not discouraged those young people determined to progress into higher education.
It’s certainly added some realism into the financing of higher education and highlights that those determined to get on will do so whatever their background.
Read the full Guardian article here.