Number of UK students applying to university slumps for second year in a row

 

University applications from UK students showed a further slump- prompting a warning from a senior vice-chancellor that a “generation-long” understanding of the benefits of higher education could be “ebbing away”.

The latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show a slump of 18.047 (5.6 per cent) on the previous year - when figures again fell as a result of the introduction of fees of up to £9,000 a year.

The drop off in applications is most marked from English students (6.5 per cent) and Welsh (11.7 per cent). The number of international students to apply has shown a slight increase (0.8 per cent).

They follow the highlighting in today’s Independent by Universities David Willetts of the slump in applications from males.  It prompted him to suggest that white working class boys should be targeted for recruitment by universities in the same way as students from disadvantaged areas and ethnic minorities are.

In an interview with The Independent, Bill Rammell, vice-chancellor of Bedfordshire University and a former Labour Higher Education Minister, warned:  “The real risk is that we are a societal turning-point.

“The generation-long understanding of the benefits of higher education could be ebbing away.  It’s like a super-tanker turning.  Once started, it gains momentum.”

He conceded he had expected a “bounce-back” this year following the slump in 2012 in the wake of the introduction of higher fees. “Bluntly, this expected bounce-back hasn’t happened,” he added.

He issued a “call to arms” - urging ministers to mount a “Government-led, university sector-backed” campaign to promote the benefits of a university education.

He added: “There are mixed messages from the Government who seem to be promoting apprenticeships as an option.  We need to make it clear it is not an either or.  Apprenticeships and other options should not be promoted as the expense of university courses.”

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, added: “We have heard many warm words from the Government about greater efforts to make university appeal to more people but the bottom line is that hiking up the cost is likely to have an impact on people’s decisions when it comes to further study.”

Meanwhile, a leading Labour MP praised Mr Willetts for raising the issue of encouraging more white working class boys to opt for university - but warned it was too little, too late.

Graham Allen, MP for Nottingham North and chairman of the Early Intervention Foundation - who constituency sends the fewest number of young people in the country to university, said: “Where he (Mr Willetts) needs to rethink is to tackle this problem 18 years earlier than the point of admission.

“The answer here is early intervention not a culture of late remedialism which is massively expensive and only ever partially successful.

“There are no quick fixes - only patient long-termism starting with babies and their parents to help develop the social and emotional bedrock that will allow my white working class kids to do just as well on their own merits as middle class kids can.”

UCAS pointed out that it was too early to say what the final picture this September would be - the main deadline for applying is January 15 and last year saw a late rush of applications.  Its view was echoed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which pointed out that traditionally fewer than 50 per cent of the final applications had been submitted by December.

In an article in The Independent today, Mr Willetts argued for a campaign focussing on parents - persuading them of the merits of their children going to university and convincing them no-one had to pay upfront fees for courses.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Maths Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: We are currently recruiting f...

Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Science Teacher -Full Time - ...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?