Public Attitudes to Tuition Fees

09 October 2023

Commenting on new polling from Public First on public attitudes to tuition fees and maintenance support for students, Chief Executive of the Russell Group Dr Tim Bradshaw said:

“We know that the cost-of-living crisis is putting students under real pressure so we are pleased to see strong public support for the reintroduction of maintenance grants to support the most disadvantaged students. We also hope to see any future Government address flaws in the maintenance loans system to protect students against sudden increases in inflation.

“This polling also highlights welcome public understanding of and support for the huge contribution our world-leading universities make to the UK economy and society. However, delivering these benefits is becoming increasingly challenging as the costs of delivering high-quality education and impactful research are not being met by funding from fees and grants. Universities work to run as efficiently as possible, but if the situation remains unchanged, their ability to mitigate the impact on quality and choice for students is limited.

"That is why we are calling for a more sustainable approach to funding higher education that can offset the impact of inflation, is fair and affordable for students and the taxpayer, and protects the pipeline of skills to support innovation and economic growth."


The Russell Group’s latest modelling suggests that in 2022/23 English universities on average supplemented the cost of educating each UK undergraduate student by £2,500 per year. If the funding system for universities remains unchanged, we conservatively project this will increase to £5,000 per student per year by 2029/30.

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