28 November 2012

million+ comments on UCAS 2013 cycle applicant figures and calls for high profile campaign to promote universities

The university think-tank million+ calls on the Government to launch a high profile campaign to promote the university ‘offer’ following the release of early statistics from the Universities Admissions Service, UCAS, for the 2013 admissions year. These indicate that there has been a downturn in the number of applications from students hoping to begin studying at university in 2013. 

While many potential students will not apply to university until later, million+ is concerned that should this pattern continue there would be another decline in university applications in 2013 following a decline in numbers in 2012.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of university think tank million+ said:

“It is very early in the applications cycle and many potential students take time to explore their options but alarm bells should be ringing in Government. If these statistics prove to be indicative there would be another downturn in university applications in 2013.

“It would be a travesty if students and their families stopped seeing university for what it is – an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - not just to improve career and employment prospects, but for inspiring lifelong interests and experiences.

“Recent emphasis on apprenticeships is welcome but should sit alongside information about university courses that lead to rewarding jobs in a wide range of industries, manufacturing and professions. A third of undergraduates are mature students using university to make a major change in their lives.

“There is now a real risk that the trend towards widening opportunities that has been a feature of university admissions in recent years, will be thrown into reverse. Ministers cannot afford to be complacent and should launch a high profile Government-backed campaign to promote the university ‘offer’.”

Ends

Notes to editors:
1. million+ is a university think-tank, working to solve complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information please contact Jean Candler, Head of Public Affairs, jeancandler@millionplus.ac.uk, 0207 717 1659, or out of hours 07900 277819.
2. The full figures released by UCAS are available at: http://www.ucas.com/about_us/media_enquiries/media_releases/2012/nov13applicantfigures