This report sets out the findings from an analysis of trends in student characteristics over the period between 2002 and 2007, identifying areas where the 2006 reforms, which allowed universities in England to charge fees of up to £3,000 (up from £1,200) to be paid following graduation, via income-contingent loans, may have had an effect. The study finds that the overall trend is an increase in numbers studying at undergraduate level in English higher education institutions (HEIs) and more specifically:.
- an apparent 2005 'spike' and 2006 'dip' in student numbers across English HEIs; with a return to a general upward trend in numbers for 2007
- when considering only English-domiciled students in English HEIs, this pattern is the same
- there is a trend decrease in Welsh students at English Institutions in 2006 and 2007
- those from less affluent areas have exhibited the least response to the reform package; there is a continued steady upward trend in the proportion of students from less affluent areas over the period of the reform
- ethnic minority groups exhibit more steady increases in numbers over the period.