By Max Clarke
In contrast to the extremely negative reaction from the UK's student community, research conducted by Home Learning College shows that large sectors of the population see the benefit of increased tuition fees.
Over half of adults (51%) believe higher fees will encourage more people into vocational study. A further 43% feel vocational qualifications are of greater value than degrees.
A survey carried out by the Home Learning College, the UK's biggest provider of professional distance learning, has revealed that 54% of respondents think that increasing the UK's vocational skills base will have a positive impact on the country's economy. This rises to 58% of men, while only 6% of all respondents were in disagreement.
When asked whether cuts to higher education and increased tuition fees are necessary to cut the UK's national debt, views became more polarised. Just over a third (35%) believes these measures are vital, while 27% are in disagreement. Again, differences of opinion are apparent between the sexes. Over two fifths of men (41%) support the cuts and rising fees as a strategy for cutting debt, in contrast to only 30% of women.
"The media has very much focused on how young people, and students in particular, have responded to proposals concerning higher education funding," says Dave Snow, Academic Director at Home Learning College.
"However, our research shows that vast swathes of the population are either in favour of these changes, or can at least see potential benefits in the long run.
"The previous government has succeeded in making the younger generation feel as though university is the only route to success. Increased tuition fees will encourage school leavers to consider their options more carefully and to place greater value of the benefit of a more vocational study path that broaden our skills base."