Research conducted by OpinionPanel and the University of Leicester, looking at a cross section of 10 named universities, found that 1 in 10 of prospective students would be put off applying for a place if all fees rose to £7,000 a year, and only a slightly higher proportion would reject university if faced with fees as high as £10,000 a year.
A press release about the study from the University of Leicester starts:
Proposed fee level rise will lead to a ‘flight to quality’ and differential fees between universities – though most students would still seek to attend university
Many universities in England and Wales will have little choice but to consider charging less than the maximum for many of their courses if the cap on tuition fees is raised to £7,000 a year, the findings of a new national study suggest.
Differences in fee levels will inevitably emerge not only between universities but also between subjects as institutions fight to retain their share of the student market and do what they can to continue to attract prospective students from poorer backgrounds.
A survey of 730 UK university applicants commissioned by the University of Leicester found that if the current review being led by former BP boss Lord Browne results in the fee cap rising from £3,000 to £7,000 a year, as has been forecast, there will be a modest but nevertheless significant rise in the proportion of students rejecting university. Students from poorer backgrounds will be deterred the most unless institutions respond to the new market with bursary packages and prices below the maximum cap.