Dr Richard Boffey, Head of AccessHE, London Higher said:
Last week’s coverage of UCAS’s findings that students are attending fewer university open days due to rising living costs are worrying. In particular, the most concerning is the fact that those from disadvantaged areas were more likely to miss out on attending open days. Sadly, this worrying trend in how prospective students are accessing information about their higher education options is not a new development.
Cost pressures have been impacting engagement with university outreach for some time and this comes on the back of Covid-19 lockdowns restricting face-to-face opportunities, such as campus visits, for several years. The pressures are evidently influencing decisions about where to study, too. London Higher polled students in the capital recently and found that many, especially those from lower-income households, were re-assessing their decisions to move away from home to study for fear that it would be too expensive.
It is important that costs do not create artificial restrictions on student choice. Prospective students do, however, have various free-to-access options when it comes to getting advice and guidance on university. A good starting point for students in London is the Cost of Living guide that London Higher’s AccessHE division has produced. Universities in London also offer a wide range of online activities, be they virtual campus tours at Ravensbourne University, online open days at Queen Mary, suites of online subject taster sessions at Westminster, and some also offer contributions towards travel costs, such as the LSE Travel Fund.