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UK middle-class pupils shun universities as fees rise

The Observer   |     11 November 2012

University applications have fallen by almost a quarter in some parts of the England, including some of the most affluent regions.

The demand for degree courses from British students has dropped by more than 50,000 – almost 9% – this year, with the University and College Admissions Service also concluding that there was evidence of a sharper fall in application rates for young people from wealthier backgrounds, compared with poorer teenagers.

It is believed that demand among the middle classes has plummeted quicker than it has among applicants from poor families because they are not able to take advantage of a generous system of living grants and tuition fee waivers.

The fall coincides with a decision to almost triple the cap on annual tuition fees to as much as £9,000 in 2012, although the fees regime means that no one need repay their debts until they earn more than £21,000.

It is believed that demand among the middle classes has plummeted quicker than it has among applicants from poor families because they are not able to take advantage of a generous system of living grants and tuition fee waivers.

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