University Remains in Demand but Only for Younger Applicants

However, there is still a demand for university among 18-year-olds. This age group make up the largest category of applicants in comparison with other age groups. The figures reveal little to no change in demand since last year.

This was the first indication of demand for undergraduate courses for the 2017 cycle. Subjects such as nursing are experiencing a decrease in applicants. The figures show that applicants who are over the age of nineteen and are English saw a decrease 16 and 29 percent in this category.

The analysis also reveals that the largest decreases in the percentages are from older students from the ages of nineteen to twenty-five in England and Wales. The number of first time applicants fell by four percent and the total re-applying for courses fell by 10 percent.

UCAS Chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook said, “Despite the overall decrease, it is encouraging that the number of 18-year-old applicants remains high”
“However, we are seeing large falls for older applicants, partly because of strong young recruitment in recent years depleting the pool of potential mature applicants, and probably also reflecting increased employment, the higher minimum wage, and more apprenticeship opportunities.”
Most students apply for university by the 15th of January, otherwise known at the ‘on time’ deadline. Even after this has past, UCAS still send out applications to colleges and universities up until the 30th of June so that some students can still be considered for clearing.

‘Universities UK’ is a company providing the voice of many universities in regards to impact and value of universities, developing skills and growth and promoting student experience.
In response to the publication of figures, President of Universities UK Dame Julia Goodfellow said
“18 and 19-year-olds make up around 70 percent of all UK applicants to universities. A slight decline in this population group means an inevitable impact on applicant numbers.”

“The rate of applications from this age group, however, remains strong, highlighting a continued demand for university courses.”

Dame Julia Goodfellow also commented in regards to the decrease in EU applicants and discussed the possibilities which could be relating to the Brexit vote.

She highlighted the need on UCAS’s part to make EU students more aware of the fees and funding required to enter in to their courses. This should happen so that students can plan in time for next year’s cycle.

She commented, “the UCAS process for accepting applications for 2017 opened on the 6th of September last year, but the government guarantee on fees and financial support for EU students was not provided until the 11th of October 2016.”

“To avoid future uncertainty, we need the government to extend these transitional arrangements now for EU students considering applying for courses starting in 2018.”
There is a great opportunity to attract more students to study in the UK. The government must be called upon to act to make the UK and even more attractive place to study for university students and staff.

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Header Image – Edward Langley