From education to employment

The Cost Of A Degree Is The Reason Why Britons Don’t Want To Attend Uni – And Why They Drop Out

New research has revealed the top reasons why young Britons are making the choice not to attend university following their A Levels, as well as the top reasons why undergraduates are choosing to drop out of university before completing their degree. The rising cost of tuition and the experience being too expensive are the top reason for both groups of young Britons.


According to the results of a new study by a website that highlights career and education options for those not wanting to attend university, alongside the rising cost of tuition, many young Britons feel that they will learn more with a hands on job than in a classroom studying theory.

The team behind conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into British attitudes towards university. 2,418 Britons aged 18 and over, 50% of whom stated that they were not planning to attend university and 50% who stated that they had attended but dropped out, were quizzed about their attitudes towards university and what had impacted their decisions.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘Growing up, and throughout education, did you expect to go to university?’ to which 56% of respondents who are not planning to go to university stated ‘yes’, and 69% of those who did attend university but dropped out stated ‘yes’. All respondents were then asked ‘Did your family and friends expect you to go to university, as a natural course following A Levels?’ to which almost three quarters of respondents for both groups, 71% and 73% respectively, stated that they did.

Wanting to delve a little deeper, all of those who stated that they were not planning to attend university were asked about why they had chosen not to go. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five results were as follows:

  1. The increasing cost of tuition -58%
  2. I believe that I can get just as good a job without a degree – 52%
  3. I’m planning to learn whilst I work (i.e. with an apprenticeship) – 39%
  4. I don’t feel education is for me – 37%
  5. I don’t like the thought of moving away from home – 31%

Similarly, the 50% of respondents who had attended university and decided to drop out before completing their degree were asked why they had made the decision to quit. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five responses were as follows:

  1. It was too expensive – 65%
  2. I disliked my degree – 57%
  3. I felt I could learn more in a job role than a classroom – 51%
  4. I hated being so far away from my partner/family – 30%
  5. I realised education was no longer for me – 28%

According to the poll, when asked to state what they felt universities could do to encourage them to attend and undertake a degree, the most common responses were ‘lower the cost of tuition’ (71%) and ‘provide more opportunities for work experience’ (62%).

A comprehensive 50-page Results Day Guide, which is free to download, use and reproduce, has been created by and is available via

Sharon Walpole, CEO of, commented:

“The results of this study really gives us an insight into the minds of young Britons, and what it is about university that is not appealing to them. University isn’t for everyone; there are so many different routes that you can take, including getting an apprenticeship or undertaking vocational training. The positives to looking at an alternative route are that you won’t be left paying off student loans for the next twenty-five or more years, you can earn money whilst you’re learning and being trained, and you’re not learning from a book, you’re learning from real-life hands-on experience.”

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