UCAS reveal 8.7% drop in University Applications
Today (Monday 30th January) UCAS released figures regarding the number of applicant to University for courses starting in Autumn.
The application for university starters in Autumn was closed last Sunday and UCAS have revealed a drop in university applicants of 7.4% overall. If you take a closer look at the figures you can see that applications in the UK have dropped by 8.7% and in England there is an alarming decrease in applicants of almost 9.9%.
Overall, there were 43,473 less applicants than at this point last year and around 30,000 less than in 2010.
At Save the Student! we have been documenting the application figures from the very beginning. Many students will be aware that there were reports of a decrease in applicants of up to 12% in recent months. This lead to leading student money sites such as ourselves and MoneySavingExpert writing guides to student finance in 2012.
These guides aimed to educate prospective students and their parents about the tuition fee myths in order to increase university applications for 2012.
Although the figures released by UCAS show a drop in the number of applicants from this time last year, the figures are not as bad as many had feared due to a small late surge in applications.
Mary Curnock Cook (UCAS chief executive) has commented on the application numbers stating that there has actually been a larger decrease in applicants from higher earning backgrounds than those from poor backgrounds.
Also, on a side note, Mary stated that there is a worrying gap of applications between males and females that appears to be growing year on year as more males choose to shun university.
Tuition fees commission
Despite this late surge, questions still need to be asked about the impact of increasing fees to £9,000. With this in mind, Oxford University principal Will Hutton will be heading an independent commission to look into the affect of the rise in fees on low earning families. UCAS have agreed to work closely with the commission.
Liam Burns (NUS President) has warned that the commission should consider other barriers to entry and not just the increase in fees.
Overall, here at Save the Student! we feel that the increase in fees may have both undoubtably and unfortunately had an adverse affect on the number of applications, possibly for the wrong reasons. However, the commission will need to look at the figures in more detail to find how students from poorer backgrounds we affected.
There have been 50,000 more applicants than there were places on offer last year too so it is unlikely that there will be any universities that struggle to fill their places with students for the start of the semester in 2012.
The first report from the commission will be eagerly awaited and is set to be completed in 6 weeks time. We will keep you updated with the progress in our student news section.
For more information see the UCAS website.