Fall in state-school university entrants since tuition fees hit £9,000

The government is facing calls for an urgent review of student financing after official figures showed that the number of state school pupils going on to higher education had dropped the year tuition fees soared to £9,000.

A report by the Department for Education showed that the percentage of state-educated pupils going on to universities and colleges in 2013/14 fell to 62%, from 66% in the previous year.

Among those calling for a root and branch review to widen access were the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, the National Union ofStudents and a body representing teachers and lecturers.

Fall in state-school university entrants since tuition fees hit £9,000

They say the cost of university, which often also includes high rent, has become prohibitively expensive for children from low to middle income households. Student maintenance grants for students on low incomes were axed this week and replaced by loans.

Rayner said the government was “slamming the doors” on students who have the talent but not the income to further their education.

The figures represents a widening of the gap between state and independent schools, which sent 85% of their pupils to higher education in the years before and after the fees hike.

The study, Widening Participation in Higher Education, does not indicate whether the fees are a definitive barrier to attending higher education, but notes that the 2013-14 university entrants were the “first cohort where all students were affected by the change in tuition fees in 2012-13”.

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