The value of Education

Uk parents believe university is now unaffordable for most

Many UK parents will now be reviewing how they will help their children pay for a university degree. With tuition fees alone costing an average £9,000 a year, university is a significant investment for both parents and students.

An annual HSBC report, the ‘Value of Education Learning for life’, shows that although 71% of surveyed parents think university is unaffordable for most people in the UK, nearly half (48%) believe an undergraduate degree or higher is necessary for their children to achieve their life goals.

More than two thirds of surveyed parents (72%) have a specific occupation in mind for their child, and the lengthier (and often more costly) degrees of engineering (11%) and medicine (10%) top the list of parents’ preferred courses.

Parents expect to repay university debt for eight years
The survey found that although parents see independence (86%) and learning to be financially responsible (82%) among the most important skills university offers, they still expect to support their children financially throughout university.

More than nine in ten parents said they will contribute to their child’s tuition fees and/or living costs.
After a mortgage, a university degree can be the most significant debt families have to repay. UK parents who currently borrow, or plan to borrow, to fund their children’s university costs expect to repay the debt for eight years and for their children to be paying off their share for 12 years.

Parents willing to pay more for overseas education
Despite the cost, nearly two thirds of UK parents (67%) would consider sending their child abroad to university. Of those parents, 59% would be prepared to pay more for the experience compared to what they would pay to educate their child in the UK.

The main reason parents would not consider sending their child to study at university abroad is that they do not want their child to be that far away from home (25%) or they cannot afford it (24%).


The Value of Education Learning for life UK Report was published in July and represents the view of 5,500 parents in 16 countries, including 352 UK parents.
The findings in this report are based on a nationally representative survey of 352 parents in the
UK, who have at least one child aged 23 or younger currently (or soon to be) in education, and who are solely or partially responsible for making decisions about their child’s education. The research was conducted online by Ipsos MORI in March and April 2015.

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