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Paying for higher education in England: funding policy and families

West, Anne ORCID: 0000-0003-2932-7667, Roberts, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-4827-867X, Lewis, Jane and Noden, Philip (2015) Paying for higher education in England: funding policy and families. British Journal of Educational Studies, 63 (1). pp. 23-45. ISSN 0007-1005

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00071005.2014.990353


Responsibility for meeting the costs of higher education in England has moved inexorably away from the government toward the family with the introduction of tuition fee and maintenance loans. Although an important public policy issue, there is limited research on how the policy impinges on the private sphere of the family. This paper focuses on financial support given by parents, including difficulties and constraints along with their perspectives of and responses to student loan debt, and students’ views of their financial independence. In-depth interviews with 28 parent-student dyads revealed different patterns of support. Some parents, contrary to policy assumptions, felt responsibility for their children’s student loan debt and acted to avoid, minimise or cushion the debt. There was evidence of financial stress for less affluent families. However, students with no parental support and high levels of government funding felt financially independent. The findings suggest that more affluent families were able to protect their children from student loan debt in different ways, whilst those with lower incomes were not able to do so, apparently creating a new form of inequality.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Society for Educational Studies
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 12:39
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:00
Projects: RPG-336
Funders: Leverhulme Trust

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