Does Cost Matter 2? Research 2016

Does Cost Matter? Students’ understanding of the higher education finance system and how cost affects their decisions

In 2014-15, NEON undertook a major piece of work to explore why despite the increase in tuition fees the participation of those from low participation neighbourhoods has not declined. The 2015 research, which can be found here, looked at the HE application intentions of year 13 students from both low, and ‘non-low’ participation backgrounds to explore the role of cost in their HE decision making and if indeed ‘cost does not matter’. It had a sample size of 1500 learners and was launched in April 2015.

In 2015-16, NEON undertook ‘Does Cost Matter 2?’ in partnership with the University College Union (UCU).

How the 2016 research was delivered
16 of NEON’s partner HEIs each identified 8-10 schools/colleges in their area to get learners either in year 13 or the final year of a Level 3 course to complete a 15 minute online questionnaire on the impact of the cost of HE on their decision making regarding their futures. While in 2015 we asked for a focus on learners who were applying for HE, in 2016 we welcomed responses from learners who are also not intending to go on to HE. The online questionnaire was anonymised and examined why and how students are making choices regarding HE entry in 2016.

This research enables NEON to contribute to the debate surrounding access to higher education policy and cost in 2016. It also strengthens the work that member HEIs/organisations can do in their local area by enhancing their understanding of the learners they serve.

Dissemination of the report and media coverage

Click here to download the full 2016 ‘Does Cost Matter?’ report.

Click here to read the Times Higher Education’s coverage of ‘Does Cost Matter? (2016)’

Click here to read The Independent’s coverage of ‘Does Cost Matter? (2016)’

Participating Organisations Include:
Bournemouth University
University of Bradford
University of Central Lancashire
University of Cumbria
East Midlands Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Partnership
University of Hull
Kent and Medway Collaborative Network
Leeds Beckett University
University of Leicester
University of Liverpool
Loughborough University
University of Manchester
Oxford Brookes University
Sussex Learning Network (SLN)
University of Wolverhampton

> Join NEON

NEON is the new professional organisation supporting those involved in widening access to higher education (HE).

Contact us today for help and advice on joining NEON.