Falling University Applications

Falling University Applications

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Applications to UK universities have fallen by 3% compared to the same time last year, according to interim figures published by Universities and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS).

This year 140,890 applications have been submitted for courses which start in the autumn compared to 144,980 last November. Before the January deadline 560,000 applications were made in 2012/13.

With the final deadline in January university leaders have dismissed the interim figures insisting they are “not a particularly useful indicator of demand.” However, in past years fewer applications in November have carried on to produce fewer applications overall.

A spokesperson for UCAS said, “In recent cycles applicant totals have increased by around 300% between the November interim comparison point and the January deadline.”

“The increase between this point and the January deadline has varied each cycle.”

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of UK Universities said, “It is very early in the applications cycle and, as we have seen in recent years, applicants are increasingly using the whole applications period, and applying right up to the 15 January deadline.”

She added: “While there remain concerns about the number of part-time and mature applicants, it is clear that overall demand for higher education remains high.

The report also showed demand from applicants for EU member states, who pay the same fees as British students, remained consistent with 2012 levels.

There was a 7% rise in applications for international students, who pay fees of £14,360 p.a. for a three-year undergraduate course at the University of Kent. The 7% rise equated to 17,460 applicants from outside the EU.

The figures come despite a report for the Institute for Public Policy Research which claimed tightening immigration rules was deterring foreign students.

The report also follows warnings over a decline in graduate job prospects. A publication by the Office for National Statistics showed that half of recent graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree.

In the same week the Government announced it was reducing funding to the National Scholarship Programme – a fund for poor students, by two-thirds to £50 million. David Willetts, Universities Minister, insisted that 100,000 poor students “could still receive a cash bursary” towards the cost of living.

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