UK University Applications Plummet by 10%

£9,000 yearly tuition fees and over 15,000 university places slashed by Government, 2012 predicts university applications to take the biggest fall in 30 years.

bursaries Exeter Student debt UCAS

With tuition fees rising to the price of a small car next year and graduate jobs at an all time low, university education is looking less appealing to prospective undergraduates than ever. Fear that university will become a highly elitist institution is becoming more of a reality, widely due to the horrific debt overhanging any student that walks in to a degree from this September.

However, positives have been drawn from the drop in applicants such as a less competitive job market and an increase in student-lecturer contact time. Another bonus will be cuts to ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses such as Plymouth’s BSc Surf Science and Durham’s own ‘Harry Potter and The Age of Illusion’.

Along with huge cuts universities will receive funding for widening access to all students; most notably families with household income below £25,000 will receive a substantial amount.

But will any of this take effect? An internal study here at Exeter University has shown 82% of bursary recipients rely on these payments. The study also revealed that the bursaries do not diversify the intake of students, perhaps this will all change from 2012. The lack of support to the ‘middle class’ in education is now more prominent than ever, the gap between rich and poor has successfully planted itself within the university system.

Prospective students may choose the ‘earn while you learn’ route, but for now the amount of apprenticeships and job training is distinctly lower than what is needed. Would current university students rethink their decision on university if they were in that position now? First year Engineering undergraduate Joash Clarkson thoroughly backed the move to on the job training rather than ‘setting yourself up with a full mortgage repayment by the time you leave university’.

Whichever view you may take, think yourselves lucky you made it in to university without the idea of £40,000+ debt to graduate with!