Is the rhetoric of a 'free' market in higher education matched by the reality of choice? In her bench mark study of higher education markets and pupil choice, Lesley Pugsley demonstrates how policy initiatives to restructure higher education in the United Kingdom have been shaped by consumer ideologies and market principles. Based on qualitative data generated from some of the last cohort of students who entered higher education under the Robbins banner of 'free' education, Pugsley tracks groups of students from different schools as they engage in the process of selecting universities .This provides a vivid account of the ways in which students, their families and their schools engage with the choice process. It illustrates the significance and the impact of social class within a highly differentiated and increasingly market-orientated higher education sector and argues that for many young people the lack of class based competencies remain the real university challenge.
Contents: Setting the scene; Change and the academy; Patterns of participation; Choice and class; Schools and choice; Families and choice; Parental roles, locality and choice; Myths, monsters and moving on; Exploring choice; Glossary of terms; Bibliography; Index.