EuroTrack: Two-thirds of Britons say higher education is not affordable

The British public is also more likely than the Swedes, Germans, Danes and French to say that too many people go to university.

The architect behind England’s current student funding system has said the fairest way to fund higher education would be to lower the income threshold for repayments from £ 26,000 to £ 19,000.

But new YouGov data shows that two-thirds of Britons (65%) already think higher education is not affordable. This is much more than in four other European countries, with around half of the French (52%) and Swedes (49%) feeling the same. Germans (35%) and Danes (11%) are the least likely to say this.

While students in England pay up to £ 9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree, Swedes and Danes pay nothing. German students pay between £ 85 and £ 300 in administration fees per term, while French students pay around £ 145 each year.

Although Britons feel more strongly than other nationalities in the survey that their higher education system is unaffordable, they are also the least in favor of tuition fees being fully taxpayer funded. Only one in five people (22%) are in favor, compared to half of Danes (52%), two in five Swedes (43%) and 27 to 29% of Germans and French.

The most popular approach among Britons is a system funded partly by the taxpayer and partly by students, with more than one in three (36%) in favor of this option. This most closely resembles the current system in England, where the outstanding student loan balance is amortized after 30 years. According to London Economics, students under the current tuition fee regime graduate with an average debt of £ 47,000, of which 54% will be written off after three decades, meaning the rest of the bill falls on the taxpayer.

The British are also the most inclined to support higher education to be fully funded by students, either through tuition fees or through a higher education tax. Three in ten (29%) are in favor, against a quarter of Germans (25%) and French (24%), a fifth of Swedes (19%) and one in eight Danes (13%).

Brits most likely to think too many people go to college

Two in five people in Britain (40%) think too many people go to university – the highest among the five countries surveyed. Sentiment in Germany is similar at 38%, while around a quarter of Danes (25%) and France (23%) feel the same. Swedes are the least likely to agree with 15%.

About a quarter of Britons say the number of people attending tertiary education is about right, while only 14% say few people graduate. Swedes are the most likely to think that there are not enough people attending tertiary education with 23%.

View full results here


YouGov plc published this content on June 28, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on June 28, 2021 10:35:03 AM UTC.

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