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Title: No point worrying? Potential undergraduates, study-related debt, and the financial allure of higher education
Authors: Esson, James
Ertl, Hubert
Keywords: Tuition fees
Study-related debt
Higher education
Student finances
Debt aversion
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Taylor and Francis / © Society for Research into Higher Education
Citation: ESSON, J. and ERTL, H., 2015. No point worrying? Potential undergraduates, study-related debt, and the financial allure of higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 41 (7), pp.1265-1280
Abstract: As of September 2012, the undergraduate tuition fee cap at English universities was raised from £3375 to £9000 per annum. This article explores the rationales underpinning prospective students' decision whether or not to apply to higher education following the fee increase, specifically, how this decision is influenced by perceptions of study-related debt and expected earnings. The article draws on data obtained from prospective undergraduates in year 13 and conceptualises their decision-making using the notion of ‘bounded rationality’. The data show that participant's primary response to the fee increase and associated study-related debt is that ‘there is no point worrying’. This is because in the short term, a higher education degree is considered vital to securing employment in a competitive labour market. In the long term, there is a perception that the income contingent nature of student loan repayments makes the Treasury, not the student, liable for any resultant financial losses.
Description: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education on 11th November 2014, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.968542
Sponsor: This work was supported by SKOPE, the Economic and Social Research Funding Council on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance [grant number RES-557-28-5003].
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2014.968542
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/17412
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.968542
ISSN: 0307-5079
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Geography and Environment)

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