UCL should cap student numbers – fight me

Maybe then I’d finally find a space in the library


It's no secret that the amount of students at UCL has increased drastically in the last 10 years. In 2008 there were 21,126 students, now there are over 42,000. That's an increase of more than 20,000 students in only 10 years!

Sure, some of the increase comes from UCL buying out other educational institutions, like the IOE a few years back. But even then, the IOE only added around 7,000 more students. So why have UCL got 13,000 more besides this?

That seems like an insane amount of people to add in about 10 years to a campus which hasn't really changed in size since then. Sure, the university is building its new campus in Stratford, but that doesn't sit well with me because in the meantime I'm living like a sardine in a 40,000+ sardine-full can.

The simple fact of the matter is that there are too many students and not enough space. Due to this vast overcrowding, wouldn't a cap to student numbers be a good idea?

Lately, with deadline season and exams approaching, it seems impossible to find anywhere to sit and do work. Library? Nope- it's full, even in the places where the wifi doesn't work properly. Cafes? Full! And even if they weren't iced Americanos only half make up for the fact that cafes aren't suitable study spaces!

I thought the Student Centre would be the solution to my prayers, but sadly not – as you might have expected, 1,004 seats for a 13,000 student excess is like putting a plaster on an axe wound!

#UCLove45065I'd like to to reserve a table at the Student Centre…

Posted by UCLove on Friday, March 1, 2019

In the short time since it opened, I've not managed to find a space in any of the study areas. Instead I spend my days wandering round the computer areas, desperately hoping that I'll find somewhere to work.

#UCLove43602I refuse to believe there's actually 1000 study spaces

Posted by UCLove on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

And that's not even all the problems! Modules are oversubscribed and lecture theatres filled beyond capacity. At this point if you arrive even a minute late for some lectures you risk having to sit on the theatre stairs – and that must be a fire hazard.

That said, I'm not blind to the positives of UCL's increase in student numbers. The idea of allowing more students into Russell Group universitites is a great one, as it aids social mobility by allowing more people to gain degrees. But that's not what UCL is doing.

Instead UCL are admitting more students because they want more money – let's be honest they see the university increasingly as a business rather than an academic institution. Don't believe me? Surely this money-grabbing is evidenced by the Provost's unbelievable salary of £360k.

And besides, there are other ways to aid social mobility and still cap student numbers, and in doing so allow all of us to have a better university experience. If those were working properly we wouldn't need to increase student numbers. Even if they'd just increased students slowly over time it'd be better – but sadly that's not the case.

I've said my bit – now someone, please, tell me where to study on campus that isn't crowded 24/7!