Worries about university fees could be pushing women out of postgraduate education, research suggests.
A survey of 1,000 UK university students by price comparison website KnowYourMoney found well over half (56%) of women are being put off postgraduate education because of high university fees. In contrast, just 44% of men feel priced-out of postgraduate education.
Women are also more likely to feel anxious about their finances, with 44% claiming student loan repayments are causing them significant stress. To compare, 38% of men feel anxious about paying back their student loan.
The survey also found 63% of women are concerned about the long-term impact their student loan will have on their personal finances. This is also a concern for male students, with 59% saying the same thing.
Only a quarter (26%) of female students have a good idea of when they will have paid off their student loan. Male students, meanwhile, are more confident in this regard, with two fifths (40%) able to estimate when they will be free of their student loan.
This is somewhat unsurprising, with women owing two thirds of the UK's £1.3tn student loan debt and taking longer to pay it off, due to the gender pay gap, and “eroding opportunity” once they enter the workforce.
John Ellmore, director of KnowYourMoney, said: “University is an expensive commitment. It can cost students tens of thousands of pounds. However, it’s a shame money worries are deterring so many people – particularly female students – from postgraduate education.
“More broadly, we must acknowledge that student finances can be tricky to navigate. So, we need to do more to educate current and prospective students about both the costs of going to university and the best ways to manage their finances.
“While it may seem intimidating at first, learning everything from responsible budgeting to how the loan repayments work will help student finances seem more manageable.”