STUDENTS more worried about the cost of studying THAN getting a job

Embargoed until 00:01 Monday 12 September 2011

Press contact Alex Rowe 020 7924 7555 /

Research carried out this week (9 September) by the website bestCourse4me - the site which gives independent information on the career outcomes of graduates - has thrown up a surprising trend; 58.67% of young people say that when thinking about university they are more concerned about the increase in fees or the debt they may incur after graduation, rather than their employment prospects.  41.33% cited employment opportunities as a concern.

The research will be presented at the launch of the updated version of the bestCourse4me website on Monday 12 September.  The site uses information collected from the Higher Education Statistics agency, HESA and the Labour Force Survey to show what careers graduates take up after university, and the salaries they earned.

The bestCourse4me site was set up by software millionaire and philanthropist, Steve Edwards, last year. He and his wife Ros fund the majority of the costs with additional support from Microsoft.

Steve Edwards commented; "Students are now being asked to make a huge investment in their future, and that means that now, more than ever, it is vital that they have all the information they need to make the right choices for them.   Clearly, the increase in fees is very important to students and this new understanding makes open access to information even more important.  While there has been a lot of noise about this, we must listen to what students actually say rather than relying on stereotypes and assumptions.  Providing this information is what bestCourse4me does.  It offers independently verified statistics which show students exactly what happened to their peers who graduated.

And, for the very first time published anywhere, the new version of the site now also has data from almost every university in the UK which shows the A-level results that students actually received and which gained them entry in to each course.  This means that students, their parents and their careers advisors can see statistically sound information about what results they need for each course rather than having to rely on marketing materials and careers guidance some of which can be of variable quality.

bestCourse4me believes that poor guidance on entry requirements places students from educationally deprived backgrounds at a serious and unfair disadvantage and is a big restriction on social mobility.  The bestCourse4me A-level data will make the selection of appropriate 16-18 qualifications such as A-levels, and the university application process, much more open and will mean that anyone can check the actual grades accepted to study any course giving potential students from all backgrounds a much better idea of their potential to get a place.

bestCourse4me asked 75 young people aged between 16 and 18 year olds  'From the two options below, What is your major concern about deciding whether to go to university ?

1          Employment opportunities / improving your future career prospects

2          The cost of studying (Student loans, living costs, fees etc).'

The research was commissioned by bestCourse4me and carried out by OnePoll on the eve of the re-launch of the popular site.

Steve continued:

"In addition we can now share very exciting new information about the actual A-levels that universities accepted for each course. While we know that it's not just A-levels that determine whether a student will gain a place on their chosen course, they are without doubt a hugely important factor and I firmly believe that access to this information should be freely available to all."


Reporters and photographers are invited to attend the official launch of the re-launched website on Monday 12 September at:

3pm - 5pm
Microsoft Customer Briefing Centre

100 Victoria Street

To request an interview with Steve Edwards, or to confirm acceptance of this invitation please contact Alex Rowe 020 7924 7555 /



Notes to editors

1        bestCourse4me is completely independent and offers a unique range of information which is not available elsewhere.  It clearly shows students and their parents the link between what and where they study and future earning power and employment prospects.

2        We have many case studies and a great deal of raw data which is currently being inputted in to the site. If you are interested in some examples of how the data on A-levels would impact A-level students then please contact Alex Rowe.  Data will be live on Monday at this link /explore/?Tab=ALevel

3        A film demonstrating the website is available to view here /film/

4        There will also be a small group of students who have used the site (and were featured in the film) at the launch.