Tuition fee increases easier to stomach if degrees cut to two years

After MPs voted to increase the limit on tuition fees from £3,920 a year to £9,000 yesterday, a survey by graduate recruitment website reiterates the ill-feeling towards the vote.

Just over half of the students and graduates who responded suggest cutting degrees to two years to make them more appealing.

They also still believe a university degree is vital for progressing their careers but want to see placement years made compulsory and may stay at home to study rather than move into student halls of residence or rented accommodation.

Of the 100 students and graduates surveyed, just 48 percent of respondents thought a degree is worth the current cost of tuition fees with 68 percent saying £1,000 to £3,000 was a fair amount to pay. Just five percent said they should pay £9,000 a year, but seven percent suggested as much as £10,000 a year.

Respondents revealed they are still keen to go to university to advance their careers: nearly two thirds (63 percent) disagreed with the statement “I feel I could have progressed quicker if I had started a job instead of studying for a degree.” They did call for more courses to include placement years, however, with 56 percent in favour of a compulsory year in industry.

With the rise in tuition fees, students may be forced to study from home rather than move into rented accommodation near their university. Some 45 percent said they were likely or very likely to stay at home to save on living costs.

Fee increases could be offset if degrees were cut down to two years rather than three. More than half of respondents (54 percent) would be more likely to study a two-year course rather than a three year variant. spokesperson Mike Barnard said: “The student protests culminated in sad scenes last night but the strength of feeling against the rises will remain ever-present. Our research shows students want value for money and are concerned about getting into debt when they see those already in work complaining of their own debt levels having paid a vastly reduced sum on tuition fees for their university education compared to what the government has now agreed on.

“Two year degrees would appease many of those who feel that the increase in fees is too much over three years, however universities may not be keen to reduce their courses. The future of higher education funding will be a balancing act of cost and quality of teaching. If students don’t feel they are getting value for money when the fees rise, the ill-feeling about the increases now will only get worse.”

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