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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

Access All Areas? The Impact of Fees and Background on Student Demand for Postgraduate Higher Education in the UK


This paper analyses participation in postgraduate higher education in the UK at the micro-level makes several contributions to the literature. Firstly, it describes trends in postgraduate participation in the UK. Secondly, it introduces a hitherto unavailable dataset of postgraduate tuition fees by institution and subject: the first of its kind. Thirdly, it attempts to control for several potential forms of endogeneity to assess the extent to which tuition fees affect demand. It adopts an instrumental variables approach to partially control for the potential endogeneity of tuition fees and includes a broad array of fixed effects to mitigate the impact of sorting into universities and endogenous residential selection. The results suggest that (1) there is substantial variation in tuition fees across and within institutions and that (2) tuition fees reduce demand for postgraduate places. In our preferred specification a 10% increase in tuition fees reduces the probability of progression by 1.7%.


Philip Wales

6 February 2013     Paper Number SERCDP0128

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.