The impact of higher fees on psychology students’ reasons for attending university

Linda Kaye, Elizabeth Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


The introduction of the new UK tuition fees resulted in concerns about the impact on Higher Education (HE) uptake, and raised questions regarding students’ motivations for attending university. The current study explored first year undergraduate psychology students’ (N = 56) reasons for attending Higher Education through a series of focus groups. These were undertaken both before (n = 21) and after (n = 35) the fee rise, providing a pre-post comparison of potential changes. Results from the pre-fee rise sample showed general reasons for attending HE reflected wider, contextual factors, drawing on socio-cultural influences. However, the post-fee rise data suggested HE uptake to be largely more motivated by career opportunities associated with degree-level education. Similarly, reasons for choosing Psychology-based courses was related to vocational interest, suggesting strategic decision-making processes of students embarking on HE. The findings present new evidence of the role of financial investments in HE on general and course-specific motivations. Implications of the findings are discussed, with particular reference to the development of relevant employability initiatives within HE curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Early online date14 Jan 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2016


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