Interesting article on the impact of top-up fees in today's Telegraph. It seems that there are record numbers of applications for entry onto undergraduate courses in 2007 - up 6.4% on 2006. Figures were even up on 2005, which was artificially high because students were opting to skip their gap year to start their courses before top-up fees came in. So much for the dire warnings that students would be put off university education by top-up fees!
Even more surprising is the provisional data from Ucas which show that the proportion of students from lower socio economic groups in England has risen from 30.9% to 31.3%. I realise that a system of means tested maintainance grants were brought in at the same time - but still! So much for top-up fees deterring students from poorer families!
I'm not sure exactly what these figures mean - but they do need some explanation. At first reading, it certainly looks as though top-up fees have had no deterence effect at all. It'll be interesting to see how those who have been implacably opposed to top-up fees will be able to interpret these figures to show that top-up fees have been damaging! Perhaps the figures are just wrong?