August 2014

IZA DP No. 8364: The Effect of Tuition Fees on University Applications and Attendance: Evidence from the UK

This article uses variation in university tuition fees over time and across countries in the UK to examine the effect of fees on university applications and attendance. It focuses on two policy changes: the removal of upfront tuition fees in Scotland in 2001 and the increase in fees in England in 2012. It finds that applications decrease in response to higher fees, especially for courses with lower salaries and lower employment rates after graduation. Attendance also falls in response to higher fees, but there is no evidence of a larger reduction for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.