30 January 2012

Government must respond to falling applications

The university think-tank million+ has commented on the latest 2012 applications figures released by UCAS (University and College Admissions Service) indicating that the hoped for ‘recovery’ in university applications has failed to materialise.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of million+ said: “The Government was always taking a risk by expecting students to take out fee loans of up to £9,000 per year to make up for cuts in public funding. However the precise impact of the new system will not be known until there is an analysis of enrolments later in the year. If this shows a decline in students from lower-income backgrounds this will be a real blow to the Government’s commitment to social mobility.

“These figures are not the end of the story. Applications stay open until the end of June and there are further opportunities in clearing. One in four students are over 21 when they enter university and they often apply later. Ministers have a clear responsibility to invest in a new campaign to ensure that people who had hoped to study at university are not deterred by headline figures of debt especially since no-one has to pay tuition fees upfront.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The full figures released by UCAS are available here. The figures show applications made for 2012 university entry up to 15 January 2011 and comparisons are made with applications at the same point last year. 15 January is the deadline for ‘equal consideration’ but applications can still be made until 30 June. In 2011 there were approximately 116,000 applications made between 15 January and 30 June.
  2. Total applications have decreased by 7.4% on the same point in the admissions cycle last year but applications from mature applicants have seen a greater decline than those from younger applicants.
    ‘Young’ applicants (20 or under)
    2011: 458,596
    2012: 428,842
    Difference: -29,754
    Difference : -6.5
    Mature applicants (21+)
    2011: 124,950
    2012: 111,231
    Difference: -13,719
    Difference : -11.0