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University applications slow in reaction to £9,000 fees
Published 19th May 2011
By Tom Goulding
The number of students applying for university places has slowed in reaction to the prospect of higher tuition fees.
The figures, published by the University and College Admission Service (UCAS), reveal that while the number of prospective students hoping to start university in 2011 has risen by 2.1%, it remains the lowest increase in recent years. In comparison, university applications saw a rise of 15.3% between 2009 and 2010.
For many would-be students faced with the prospect of huge loan repayments, 2011 is likely to be the first year to show a substantial increase in applications for vocational degrees, and a decline in language, arts and humanities. The humanities courses showing a significant reduction in applicants were classical studies, linguistics, history and philosophy. In contrast, there was a 14% increase in applications for nursing, and a 6.5% rise in those hoping to read mathematics and computer science.
In a recent poll conducted by the market research firm High Fliers Research, 12,658 students from across 24 universities were asked whether they would have gone into higher education had higher tuition fees affected them. Over half of the students said they would have found an alternative. It was also revealed that women, students in the North of England and those who averaged three B’s or less at A Level were most likely to be deterred by the maximum fees. In Lancaster, Liverpool and Reading University it was found that three fifths of current students would not have applied if they had been forced to pay £9,000 tuition fees, while students at Oxford and Cambridge were the least likely to be deterred by the charge.
UCAS has claimed that 633,811 applicants will expect to start on an undergraduate degree this year, yet only 490,000 places will be available. This could see over 100,000 students rejected from the universities they hope to attend. This year, government ministers will allow universities to offer 10,000 extra places to would-be students, a compromise that will not be made available in 2012.
In March, The University of Surrey announced that it would be charging £9,000 tuition fees from next year.