Location of Repository

Does the fear of debt constrain choice of university and subject of study?

By Claire Callender and Jonathan Jackson


The new student funding regime introduced by the 2004 Higher Education Act in England is predicated on the accumulation of student debt. Variable tuition fees, repaid by student loans, will increase average student loan debt on graduation. This article examines how fear of debt and financial constraints affect prospective students' choices of where and what to study. Using data derived from a survey of about 2000 prospective students, it shows that financial issues constrain lower social class students' choice of university far more than those from other social classes. It demonstrates that fear of debt is related to two key financially-driven decisions - applying to a university with low living costs, and applying to one with good term-time employment opportunities - but only for students from low-income families. However, concerns about debt do not influence their choice of qualification and subject. The article concludes that low-income students are more likely than their wealthier peers to perceive the costs of higher education as a debt rather than an investment

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), LB2300 Higher Education
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1080/03075070802211802
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:20999
Provided by: LSE Research Online
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.informaworld.com/03... (external link)
  • http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20999... (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.