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Tuition Fees and Alcohol

Thanks to economist Larry Willmore for highlighting the following Financial Times article in his “Thought du Jour” column.

A natural experiment is underway in the UK. Three years ago, government slashed support for university education, and tripled tuition fees. Tuition fees of £9,000 a year, combined with a difficult job market, has injected new seriousness into university studies.

Stonegate Pub Company, which owns more than 500 pubs and bars …, has been quick to notice a change among its student customers as they adapt to higher tuition fees and a tough economy. “There is no doubt at all that higher tuition fees have impacted the way students are behaving,” says Ian Payne, the company’s chairman. “I’m appalled to admit they drink less and study more.”`

Peter Marks, chief executive of Luminar, Britain’s biggest nightclub operator, has noticed the same trend. Students are still partying but “there’s definitely less emphasis on alcohol,” he says. “Pre-exams we’ve been quieter this year than in prior years as people have really put their heads down and studied …. Nine thousand pounds [for tuition] is a sobering enough number for anybody.”

Sarah O’Connor, “High fees push students towards the age of sobriety”, Financial Times, 20 November 2013.


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