ALMOST 70,000 school-leavers will not go to university because of the Government's new tuition fees, it is said.
Elisabeth Wilson, Parliamentary spokes- woman for Colne Valley Liberal Democrats, said the figures showed up in research.
They equate to between 400 and 500 local young people denied the opportunity for higher education.
The survey questioned the parents of teenagers who want to go to university, as well as current students.
One third of parents said the new £3,000-a- year tuition fees - due to be introduced in 2006 - may affect their children's chances of going on to higher education.
One in 14 said the fees would `definitely stop' their youngsters from going.
The research was by financial specialists The Children's Mutual.
Dr Wilson, a graduate of Huddersfield University, said: "It is hardly surprising that youngsters from lower-income families are put off.
"The debts owed by students leaving university increased by a third during the past year, to an average of more than £12,000 for each graduate."
The research showed that one in three students thought it would take them more than 10 years to clear their university debts.
It comes weeks after the Bill introducing top-up tuition fees became law.