10% drop in UK university applications
UK University applications have fallen by 10% following the tuition fees increase for domestic students according to Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK.
University and College Union General Secretary Sally Hunt, said: ‘It should come as little surprise that applications in England are hardest-hit as a result of the government making it the most expensive country in the world in which to gain a public degree education. The number of older people being deterred from applying is particularly concerning. If we want to compete with other leading economies and produce highly skilled workers we simply cannot afford to have a system that puts people off university.’
However, while some universities faced a decrease in applicants, no leading UK universities from the Russell Group saw any decrease in their applications. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, said that ‘the UCAS figures confirm that the fall in applications is far less dramatic than some were predicting for this year. It is reassuring that applicants are still applying in numbers and that, despite the higher fees, people still see higher education as a valuable investment.’
In the past years, other study destinations have emerged as attractive hosts for students as suggested by the Top 100 Universities under 50 rankings 2012 in which Australian and Malaysian universities were in the top 50.
These recent developments suggest that the applicants are becoming more and more selective in terms of choosing their future university and subject. However, this is also a challenge for universities to provide better facilities. As Georgia Thresh, postgraduate officer at the University of Nottingham, suggested: ‘as fees go up, demand from students to get what they are paying for is going to increase.’
Despite the increase in tuition fees, the UK has retained its reputation as world class education provider. However, universities would need to work harder to retain high levels of student satisfaction, particularly from international students.
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