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UK university applications drop for second year running Watch

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    There's been another drop in the number of students applying for university, new figures from UCAS show.

    The data, which is from mid-December, shows applications down by 6.3% in England, down by 11.7% in Wales and down by 3.9% in Scotland, compared to the number of applications at the same time in 2012. Northern Ireland was the only part of the UK to experience an increase - with numbers of applicants up by 0.5%.

    More on this university applications down story here...

    The drop is being blamed by many on high tuition fees. Is that fair? Do you know anyone who has been put off from going to university by the prospect of paying fees? Do you think there are other reasons for the second drop in as many years?
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    (Original post by shooks)
    There's been another drop in the number of students applying for university, new figures from UCAS show.

    The data, which is from mid-December, shows applications down by 6.3% in England, down by 11.7% in Wales and down by 3.9% in Scotland, compared to the number of applications at the same time in 2012. Northern Ireland was the only part of the UK to experience an increase - with numbers of applicants up by 0.5%.

    More on this university applications down story here...

    The drop is being blamed by many on high tuition fees. Is that fair? Do you know anyone who has been put off from going to university by the prospect of paying fees? Do you think there are other reasons for the second drop in as many years?


    In my opinion university is becoming less important these days, and I think more people are trying to gain experience, essential qualifications by other routes. Saturation of the job market, means what ever degree you have, is well 'useless almost' without relevant experience, skills in the field you wish to persue.
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    Does that make it easier for those who have applied to get in? So Universitys will fill up their not so competitive courses?
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    I think there's a revolution in how being at university is perceived. Previously a degree was a signal of above average intelligence. Since there's been such a large increase in degrees (not to mention jobs such as nursing or social work now being administered through academic qualifications) and a corresponding increase in graduate unemployment, that signalling power is being reduced. Thus a lot of people who were ambivalent are now a lot more wary. Not to mention the fact that people are now considering abroad - my old school now has 10% going to the US, whereas it had none 5 years ago - because there's a perception of diminishing quality among the 'mid-ranking' universities. It's not just fees, or Scotland would probably have remained static.

    it's affecting all universities too. A family friend is an oxford admissions tutor for English and he was saying this year they could not fill the places. Whether he means a reduction in sheer numbers or a reduction in quality applicants wasn't clarified but still.
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    I think practical experience in a field is fast becoming an area just as important as a degree.

    Higher fees certainly dont help of course.
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    To be honest, the drop is most likely to be due to those who would have gone to study a less academic subject at uni, and enjoyed the social life/ whole uni experience rather than got much useful out of it in terms of getting a job. They have instead realised that it's not financially viable any more, and that there are more suitable ways of getting into the jobs/ careers they want/ end up in. Yes, there may have been a few students who can no longer afford to go to university, but this is likely to be due to rising living costs rather than the tuition fees as this is covered by a loan from the government. There may also have been a drop (more relevant for last year I guess) due to students going to university two years ago before the fees were increased and not taking a gap year.
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    (Original post by Aeschylus)
    Not to mention the fact that people are now considering abroad - my old school now has 10% going to the US, whereas it had none 5 years ago
    They rich or summin?
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    (Original post by Hooj)
    They rich or summin?
    Yes it was a private school (I went on a full bursary) but it's been replicated at another private school in a different part of the country I have done careers work with before. There are quite a few scholarships available as well.
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    I think fees are contributing more than people realise, or perhaps like to think. The bureaucrats who allowed the fee rise are particularly guilty of this in my opinion - "Tuition fees aren't to blame! It just happens to be a coincidence that applications have fallen for the two years the new fee rate has been in place!"
    I have a (lunatic) friend studying medicine with an integrated degree also (so, 6 years compared to 5) and he's already considering doing a Masters afterwards. 7 years at university would equal a £63,000 bill for the education alone, not to mention living costs - the poor bugger's studying in London. He could easily wind up with a debt pushing the 100 grand mark. Which is crazy.
    Now, this is quite a specific case, granted, and I know the argument "You don't pay it back until you're earning £21K or over", but one of the reasons for pursuing tertiary education is to break into that higher pay bracket.
    Education is a right, not a privilege. The politicians who allowed the rise in fees went to university for free and have no clue what it's like to be landed with a debt of such magnitude so early on in your adult life. It's essentially a mortgage for your education.
    Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that we are going to be paying tens of thousands of pounds for a degree which was previously free of charge, or very cheap. Which I think is completely unfair.
    I'm still going to pursue a degree and hopefully a Masters after that because I want to go into a fairly specific field, and I know that tertiary education is going to be the only way for me to break into that. But I'm very uneasy about the fact that my degree is going to be terrible value for money compared to years gone by.
    At the very least they could subsidise the more vocational degrees - medicine, dentistry, opthamology, paramedic science, etc.
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    (Original post by Flowerii)
    I think fees are contributing more than people realise, or perhaps like to think. The bureacrats who allowed the fee rise are particularly guilty of this in my opinion - "Tuition fees aren't to blame! It just happens to be a coincidence that applications have fallen for the two years the new fee rate has been in place!"
    I have a (lunatic) friend studying medicine with an integrated degree also (so, 6 years compared to 5) and he's already considering doing a Masters afterwards. 7 years at university would equal a £63,000 bill for the education alone, not to mention living costs - the poor bugger's studying in London. He could easily wind up with a debt pushing the 100 grand mark. Which is crazy.
    Now, this is quite a specific case, granted, and I know the argument "You don't pay it back until you're earning £21K or over", but one of the reasons for pursuing tertiary education is to break into that higher pay bracket.
    Education is a right, not a privilege. The politicians who allowed the rise in fees went to university for free and have no clue what it's like to be landed with a debt of such magnitude so early on in your adult life. It's essentially a mortgage for your education.
    Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that we are going to be paying tens of thousands of pounds for a degree which was previously free of charge, or very cheap. Which I think is completely unfair.
    I'm still going to pursue a degree and hopefully a Masters after that because I want to go into a fairly specific field, and I know that tertiary education is going to be the only way for me to break into that. But I'm very uneasy about the fact that my degree is going to be terrible value for money compared to years gone by.
    At the very least they could subsidise the more vocational degrees - medicine, dentistry, opthamology, paramedic science, etc.
    This^ can't lie I'm not too surprised

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    (Original post by tinkerbell_xxx)
    Does that make it easier for those who have applied to get in? So Universitys will fill up their not so competitive courses?
    I think it really depends on what course you're going for and also which uni you're looking at. I'm applying for anthropology (which isn't particularly well known or competitive anyway) but for the likes of Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Economics, History etc, applications will still be very high and the drop in applicants will likely have little to no effect. Unis like Oxbridge, LSE and Durham will still be flooded with applications because they're so well respected, and people aiming for top universities will likely place higher value on the degree they get rather than the fee they pay.
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    I never really understood why raised tuition fees were a cause of concern for anyone, really. Sure, it's a bugger that we have to pay more back, but the payment rates are so low that most people wouldn't miss the money... Especially if they got a graduate job.

    Can anyone expand on this for me? Why are people being turned away by the loan?
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    I'm not sure what it means cos it's been a funny few years...

    this table from the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20898941

    shows applications are up from this point in 2009 (england)

    Name:  ucas applications.png
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    I don't think there's any law of nature that says the number of applicants has to go up every year.
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    (Original post by SillyEddy)
    I never really understood why raised tuition fees were a cause of concern for anyone, really. Sure, it's a bugger that we have to pay more back, but the payment rates are so low that most people wouldn't miss the money... Especially if they got a graduate job.

    Can anyone expand on this for me? Why are people being turned away by the loan?
    I could give you the opinion of my little brother, if you like. He's wanted to study veterinary medicine for years, which is either a 5 or 6 year degree depending on where you go.
    We're not particularly well off and we both attend/ed private school on bursaries (I'm currently on a gap year for medical reasons).
    He's now changed his mind completely because it's estimated he'll leave uni with a debt of £50-60K minimum so he's currently looking into working with animal sanctuaries.
    I don't know if he'll change his mind further down the line, but for a fifteen year old, the thought of paying back a five figure sum is very daunting. Not to mention he's quite stubborn, so it's partly a matter of principle; he's fuming that the people currently in power got to go to uni for free, yet we're being landed with a mountain of debt. Admittedly, the pay back plan is well thought out, but just because you don't have bailiffs banging down your door does that make it right? Having to pay back tens of thousands of pounds when previously no-one paid fees? A 'manageable' payback plan doesn't detract from the fact that we will be dipping into our hard earned salaries for years, perhaps decades to come to pay for a degree that seems to be rapidly losing it's value.
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    (Original post by Flowerii)
    I think it really depends on what course you're going for and also which uni you're looking at. I'm applying for anthropology (which isn't particularly well known or competitive anyway) but for the likes of Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Economics, History etc, applications will still be very high and the drop in applicants will likely have little to no effect. Unis like Oxbridge, LSE and Durham will still be flooded with applications because they're so well respected, and people aiming for top universities will likely place higher value on the degree they get rather than the fee they pay.
    it's none of them it's computer networks at BCU
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    (Original post by Flowerii)
    I could give you the opinion of my little brother, if you like. He's wanted to study veterinary medicine for years, which is either a 5 or 6 year degree depending on where you go.
    We're not particularly well off and we both attend/ed private school on bursaries (I'm currently on a gap year for medical reasons).
    He's now changed his mind completely because it's estimated he'll leave uni with a debt of £50-60K minimum so he's currently looking into working with animal sanctuaries.
    I don't know if he'll change his mind further down the line, but for a fifteen year old, the thought of paying back a five figure sum is very daunting. Not to mention he's quite stubborn, so it's partly a matter of principle; he's fuming that the people currently in power got to go to uni for free, yet we're being landed with a mountain of debt. Admittedly, the pay back plan is well thought out, but just because you don't have bailiffs banging down your door does that make it right? Having to pay back tens of thousands of pounds when previously no-one paid fees? A 'manageable' payback plan doesn't detract from the fact that we will be dipping into our hard earned salaries for years, perhaps decades to come to pay for a degree that seems to be rapidly losing it's value.
    Perhaps it comes with age? When I was doing my GCSEs I had no real interest in university. Even during A-levels, I really didn't have a game plan for uni. A few years ago the sum of £1000 seemed like an unimaginable amount of money. Then, I got a job, worked part time and sometimes made £400+ a month, and money began to shrink. I'm far from rich myself - At home, I live very comfortably, but I usually buy the things that matter to me.

    University debts just don't feel like a major burden to me at the moment. I think I feel comfortable that my degree will guarantee jobs too. Perhaps if people are going to university for the fun of it, the debt doesn't make economical sense. To me, though, it's an investment which will be worth its weight in gold quite quickly.


    Hell, I am on a 3 year degree (looking to do a placement year + a master's, so 5 years in total) and was then going to consider looking at becoming a pilot - Which costs another £100k or so. But the way I budget it, I would only start paying off the student loan after I have qualified and have paid off the pilot loan (through working), so it is just an afterthought for me.


    Provided people really evaluate their finances and look at what a degree will realistically give them (money, enjoyment, etc), I don't think the loan should be the primary concern. Perhaps those on the fence are using it as their excuse.
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    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    To be honest, the drop is most likely to be due to those who would have gone to study a less academic subject at uni,
    On the contrary, I very large part of the drop last year, and I expect the same this year, will be in people studying traditional academic subjects which do not automatically lead to careers.

    English and history took a beating last year and are likely to do so again.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    On the contrary, I very large part of the drop last year, and I expect the same this year, will be in people studying traditional academic subjects which do not automatically lead to careers.

    English and history took a beating last year and are likely to do so again.
    "which do not automatically lead in to careers" - unfortunately this may be the main issue, many people apply for those subjects with a clear career focus, medicine being the classic example. However, those subjects which are still very academic but don't seem directly 'useful' may also have suffered in the same way as those subjects which genuinely are useless. I see your point. Personally, I wish the fees hadn't increased, not least because I'm going to have to pay them But I can understand that the government has to cut costs, and reducing the subsidies for degree tuition, and allowing universities to charge higher fees to the students to cover this reduction in income, is an easy way to do this. Unfortunately, we may not discover the full implications of this decision for many years to come.
 
 
 
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