Cost of travel putting prospective university students off visiting open days

Around two in five prospective students have cut down how many open days they attended because of the cost. Credit: PA

Prospective students are attending fewer university open days when researching where to study due to rising living costs, according to the university admissions service, UCAS.

Nearly two in five (39%) prospective applicants in the UK said they have cut down on the number of open days they attended due to costs, while 5% said they did not attend any because of the expense, a survey has found.

Those from disadvantaged areas were more likely to miss out on attending open days, according to the poll.

Jo Richards, senior insight lead at UCAS, says “some students are ruling out places earlier” due to the cost of living.

She added: "By restricting their opportunity to explore the different potential environments, they have reduced the options available to them before they even apply.”

One survey participant said that open days "are really expensive" and they couldn't afford the travel "so only got to visit one".

Another said that virtual open days gave them an insight into the subject they wanted to do, "but not in terms of the university… the lifestyle… and the area.”

Of those who had cut down on of open days, only around half had attended virtual visits instead, the survey found.

58% of prospective university applications said they are now considering getting a part-time job while at university due to increased costs, 26% said they would consider choosing a university closer to home, and 24% said they would consider living at home.

More than half agreed that the cost-of-living increase has lowered their expectations of student life.

In a UCAS blog, Ms Richards said: “We have a duty as a sector to make sure that we are putting support and interventions in place to ensure widening participation students are not more greatly affected than their advantaged peers.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...