A poll has revealed that fewer young people think it’s important to go to university compared to five years ago.
The survey by Ipsos Mori for the Sutton Trust polled 2,300 English and Welsh pupils aged 11-16.
Some 75% said they thought it was “important” to go to university, compared to 86% in 2013.
Students across the country are collecting their A-level results today, and over 600,000 have applied to university through the Ucas system.
Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust - a charity that promotes social mobility - said: “Young people face a dilemma. If they go on to university they incur debts of over £50,000 and will be paying back their loans well into middle age. And in a number of cases they end up with degrees that don’t get them into graduate jobs.
“On the other hand, degree-level apprenticeships are almost non-existent, with fewer than 10,000 available each year compared with over 300,000 university places. There is effectively no viable alternative to university.”
Of the students polled, over three quarters said they were likely to go to university, while 32% said they were very likely.
ONS statistics show a steady increase in the number of people studying beyond A-levels over the last decade.
Last year, there were 14 million graduates in the UK, and between July and September 2017, figures showed graduates were more likely to be employed than non-graduates.
Fewer students accepted into universities
Fewer students have been accepted on to UK degree courses this year, initial figures show.
Ucas data shows that 411,860 have taken up places so far, down one per cent on the same point last year.
It also shows that 353,960 UK students have been accepted on to courses, down two per cent.
The drops come in the wake of a drop in applications to start degrees at UK universities this autumn, fuelled by factors including a fall in the UK's 18-year-old population.