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University challenged

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University challenged

Almost half of school-leavers in the UK (49 percent) are reassessing their decision to study beyond school since the rise in university fees, with 42 percent of those in their final years of school feeling they simply cannot afford to go to university, according to research published today by Friends Provident.
The research highlights the funding gap that many school leavers feel themselves caught in: despite many believing the cost of going to university is prohibitive, 72 percent of school leavers still believe they need a degree to succeed in their chosen careers. The funding gap is prompting increasing numbers of school leavers to consider alternatives to university. Data published this week by City & Guilds suggests that apprenticeships and scholarships are becoming more valued.

Friends Provident’s research into the graduates of the future surveyed students aged between 16-19 to see how their plans are being shaped by economic conditions and public policy decisions. The findings suggest that graduates will be demanding more for their high-priced degrees, with almost half of respondents (44 percent) expecting to earn more due to the increasing cost of their education.

The research findings indicate that students recognise the growing importance of good career and financial planning in helping them to achieve their goals. Almost all school leavers (93 percent) plan to work part-time throughout their university lives to fund their studies and 59 percent believe they will have to undertake unpaid work experience to secure a good job.

Trevor Matthews, CEO of Friends Provident, said: “We could be seeing the emergence of the most financially savvy generation of students yet, as they face the realities of the cost of education and increasing competition for jobs. These are issues parents are facing too, as our research found that almost a third of school leavers expect to be dependent on their parents after graduating. “For most graduates today university life has been a great experience. With the right planning, advice and support, this can also be the case for the graduates of tomorrow.”

14 February 2011

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