December 15, 2021
We study the impact of higher education financing on the academic aspirations of teenagers and their parents. We exploit a reform which introduced a large increase in the tuition fees universities can charge, more generous support for the poorest students and a more redistributive student loan system, and varied across the UK’s constituent countries. Using rare survey data on post compulsory secondary and university education aspirations, we find that teenagers’ aspirations are not responsive to large changes in higher education financing. In contrast, parents adjust their aspirations, resulting in a reduction of the socio-economic aspiration gap for their children.
Economics of Education Review