4 January 2012

Applications 'recovering' but overshadowed by decrease in older applicants

The university think-tank million+ has commented on the latest figures released by UCAS (University and College Admissions Service) indicating that applications to study at university in 2012 have begun to recover compared to the initial decline in applications recorded in the Autumn. However, there remains a large downturn in applications from mature applicants.

Professor Les Ebdon, Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, said: “Ministers need to work much harder to persuade older students of the opportunities provided by studying for a degree that will help them get a job in the future. It is not too late to apply to university and those who are considering starting courses in 2012 still have time to do so.

“Rather than breathing a sigh of relief that application figures appear to be recovering, Ministers need to launch a campaign to ensure that older students understand the loan system and the opportunities available. A failure to do so will overshadow the success the Government has had in persuading younger applicants that university remains one of the best career moves that they can make.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The full figures released by UCAS are available here. The figures show applications made for 2012 university entry up to 19 December 2011 and comparisons are made with applications at the same point last year.
  2. Total applications have decreased by 6.4% 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: 291,382
    2012: 276,275
    Difference: -15,107
    Difference : -5.2
    Mature applicants (21+)
    2011: 52,682
    2012: 45,633
    Difference: -7,049
    Difference : -13.4