Concern as university applicant numbers remain low

Daily Echo: Concern as university applicant numbers remain low Concern as university applicant numbers remain low

FEARS have been raised fewer people are applying to go to university in the face of higher tuition fees.

Higher education applications are down on last year, when a 6.6 per cent drop was seen as a response to the huge rise in the cost of taking a degree.

Students starting their courses last September were the first to have to pay up to £9,000 a year, as fees were virtually trebled at some universities.

University bosses had hoped that reduction in the number of people wanting to continue their studies after A-levels would be a blip, but have revealed concerns there is “no evidence of any great bounce back”.

Official figures from admissions service UCAS showed there had been a further 6.3 per cent fall in application numbers up to mid-December, and although there was reportedly a late surge before last week’s deadline, it was thought to not be enough to bring total numbers above 2012’s figure of 653,600 applicants.

It comes after the University of Southampton recruited 600 fewer students this year.

The drop in admissions came because strict new Government rules meant there was a limit on the number of people the university could accept who didn’t gain top AAB grades in their A-levels.

Southampton had to withdraw early from the clearing process because there weren’t enough would-be students with the necessary grades to fill places.

This year there will be more flexibility, with A-level ABB grades or better becoming exempt from student number controls.

But not all universities saw student numbers drop.

Southampton Solent University saw nearly 4,000 undergraduates start their studies last year – virtually exactly the same number as in 2011.

However, higher education leaders admit concerns application numbers have not recovered from 2012’s dip.

The last time there was a large increase in fees, when they rose to £3,000 per year, there was a one-year decline before numbers began to climb again, but there are fears the impact of the latest rise could be a long-term trend.

Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the Million+ group of universities, has called for a Government-backed campaign to promote higher education to boost numbers once more.

The Russell Group of leading universities, which includes Southampton, has welcomed the shift to allowing more choice for students with ABB grades.

But it said it is still too early to draw conclusions about this year’s final application figures, which will not be officially released until the end of this month.

Comments (8)

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5:50pm Thu 24 Jan 13

elvisimo says...

no surprise - 3 year course could leave someone with £45k loan for tuition and student loans.
no surprise - 3 year course could leave someone with £45k loan for tuition and student loans. elvisimo
  • Score: 0

5:51pm Thu 24 Jan 13

mickey01 says...

the lack of jobs at the end of the term is also a factor i should think
the lack of jobs at the end of the term is also a factor i should think mickey01
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Thu 24 Jan 13

befriendly says...

Would be interesting to know what are the most popular/ unpopular courses as job prospects and potential pay might play a big part in drop. IE a doctor, mechanical engineer £100,000 + a year; as against mickey mouse degrees where you'd be lucky to get a job let alone earn anything.
Would be interesting to know what are the most popular/ unpopular courses as job prospects and potential pay might play a big part in drop. IE a doctor, mechanical engineer £100,000 + a year; as against mickey mouse degrees where you'd be lucky to get a job let alone earn anything. befriendly
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Thu 24 Jan 13

eurogordi says...

Why are universities and the government so surprised at this drop in applicants.

Young people didn't really want to get into debt when tuition fees were £3000 - even more do not want increased debt because of government policy.

The good thing about this is that those turning 18 will be voting at the next election and will hopefully vote against the Con Dem's who tripled fees.
Why are universities and the government so surprised at this drop in applicants. Young people didn't really want to get into debt when tuition fees were £3000 - even more do not want increased debt because of government policy. The good thing about this is that those turning 18 will be voting at the next election and will hopefully vote against the Con Dem's who tripled fees. eurogordi
  • Score: 0

9:42pm Thu 24 Jan 13

good-gosh says...

Tuition fee repayments are small, graded to earnings and spread over many years. Typically, the repayments are £30 per month for a graduate earning £25,000 a year. Its a small extra tax and no excuse for shunning a degree.
Tuition fee repayments are small, graded to earnings and spread over many years. Typically, the repayments are £30 per month for a graduate earning £25,000 a year. Its a small extra tax and no excuse for shunning a degree. good-gosh
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Thu 24 Jan 13

SotonGreen says...

100k as a mechanical engineer ? Your having a giarffe.
100k as a mechanical engineer ? Your having a giarffe. SotonGreen
  • Score: 0

11:37am Fri 25 Jan 13

Subject48 says...

What people seem to forget is that some will do a "degree", get 35-45k from the govenment, and then end up in a salary below the threshold for repayments.

This means amidst a triple dip recession government is literaly throwing money away. It wont get that money back, ever, in many cases.

Tory & friends are happy because the universities make money as they are PRIVATE institutions. Yet again the honest working man has to foot the bill.
What people seem to forget is that some will do a "degree", get 35-45k from the govenment, and then end up in a salary below the threshold for repayments. This means amidst a triple dip recession government is literaly throwing money away. It wont get that money back, ever, in many cases. Tory & friends are happy because the universities make money as they are PRIVATE institutions. Yet again the honest working man has to foot the bill. Subject48
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Fri 25 Jan 13

southy says...

There is also a big drop in overseas students coming here also, Russia seems to be the place at the moment where the education is free or very cheap for the private sector side
There is also a big drop in overseas students coming here also, Russia seems to be the place at the moment where the education is free or very cheap for the private sector side southy
  • Score: 0

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