A new study out today finds that the first graduates to pay £9,000 per year in university tuition fees are more career-oriented, organised and ambitious than their predecessors.
The study, conducted by independent researchers High Fliers Research, was based on face-to-face interviews with more than 18,000 final-year students at leading universities across the country.
Researchers found that a record number of students had done paid work placements or internships whilst at university, with half of this year’s graduates having begun researching their career options in their first year at university.
According to the report, 26 per cent of final-year students expect to start a full-time graduate job straight after university, the highest fraction recorded in fourteen years. About another quarter of graduates polled said they intended to do a postgraduate course following graduation.
The researchers recorded a dramatic drop in the number of final-year students with “no definite plans” for after university. Just nine per cent of graduates are undecided about their future, according to the study, the lowest level recorded in nearly two decades.
Researchers say that many of the trends recorded are directly related to the debt students are taking on under the new fees structure. The average student’s debt for this year’s university leavers jumped by almost 50 per cent, compared with debt levels among last year’s class, the study found. Finalist’s average expected graduation debt now stands at £30,000, compared with averages of £20,400 in 2014, £20,300 in 2013 and £19,400 in 2012.