HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 cc36-7W
Mr. Edwards

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the number of potential students, broken down by social class, who were deterred from applying for a university place in 2001 because of the financial cost they might incur. [38787]

Margaret Hodge

The Youth Cohort Study shows that around nine in 10 young people who achieve two or more A-levels by 18 progress to Higher Education by the time they are 21. The differences in participation rates between different social classes largely reflect differences in prior attainment. A research study into the factors affecting participation in HE by different social class groups (which focused on those with, or seeking to get, entry-level qualifications) found that finance is one of a number of concerns people had when they were deciding whether or not to attend university. However, among those who had decided against going to university the main reasons were not related to the likely costs involved but because they wanted to start work or because they did not need a higher education qualification for their chosen career.