18 January 2013

million+ comment on 51,000 fall in university acceptances in England in 2012

The universities admission service, UCAS, has published its end-of-cycle report for 2012. This reveals that there were over 51,000 fewer acceptances by students in England wishing to study at university in 2012 compared to the previous year. While acceptances in Scotland and Northern Ireland increased, the figures represent a 13% fall for England where higher tuition fees were introduced for new students commencing university for the first-time in 2012. The UCAS statistics only record full-time students. Universities have reported that there has also been a decline in the number of people wishing to study part-time in spite of the fact that fee loans for part-time students were introduced.

Professor Patrick McGhee, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East London and chair of the university think-tank million+ said:

“These figures take no account of the decline in interest in studying part-time. The need for the Government to launch a campaign to promote the value of higher education is now all too obvious.”

Earlier this week million+ and the consultancy firm London Economics published a report which assessed the economic value of a UK degree. This concluded that investment in higher education produced a rate of return of over 10% for the Treasury and that getting a degree was likely to provide an individual over their lifetime with better employments prospects and higher earnings  in spite of the economic downturn.

The report titled, What’s the Value of a UK Degree?, estimated that a downturn of 30,000 students studying at English universities was likely to cost the Treasury and the economy over £6.6bn. A spokesperson for million+ said “that this figure now looked like a very conservative estimate.”


Notes to Editors
1. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information please contact Jean Candler, Head of Public Affairs on 0207 717 1659 or out of hours 07900 277 819.

2. The UCAS end-of-cycle report for 2012 can be found here http://www.ucas.com/documents/End_of_Cycle_Report_12_12_2012.pdf. Acceptances in England were down by 13% in England and -12% in Wales but increased by +2% in Scotland and +3% in Northern Ireland.

3. ‘What’s the value of a UK degree?’ is the first of a series of Behind the Headlines pamphlets being produced by million+ and London Economics on the economic outcomes and options of different funding regimes for higher education and student support. Download the full report and summary here.