“We’ve seen, statistics have shown, that the higher tuition fees haven’t really put people, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, [off] from going into university either.”
Dia Chakravarty, 21 September 2017
The 2012 increase in tuition fees doesn’t seem to have affected the long-term trend of growing proportions of young people—including from disadvantaged backgrounds—applying or going to university. It is harder to say what the impact is for mature students—the Office for Fair Access says that the evidence is mixed.
Looking at several different measures, the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds applying and going to university in England is at a record high. Some of these measures do show a slightly slower increase in the past year or two. We’ve got more detail on this and other areas of the UK in this article.
There was a dip in numbers immediately after the 2012 fee increase, but numbers have since returned to record levels.
We can’t know what the numbers would have been if tuition fees hadn’t been increased.