APPLICATIONS to university from the Merseyside area have plunged by up to 20% since student fees were trebled, new figures reveal.
Young people are turning their backs on higher education after the annual cost soared to almost £9,000 for most courses that started last month, Labour claimed.
One MP, Luciana Berger – whose Liverpool Wavertree constituency saw the joint biggest fall in applications – said the figures showed her worst fears had been realised.
The Labour MP said one Kensington constituent had revealed how his daughter had abandoned plans to study medicine to take a shorter course, involving less debt.
And she added: “This is a massive decline. I voted against higher fees because I feared the level of debt that students would be confronted with when they left university would be a deterrent – and that’s what these figures show.”
But the department for business (BIS) insisted the fall had nothing to do with rocketing fees, which had made the funding system “fairer and more progressive”.
The biggest falls on Merseyside were in Liverpool Wavertree and Halton (both down 20%), with 16% falls in Sefton Central, Wirral South, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Liverpool West Derby and Wallasey.