SHOCK HORROR: Student Intake For 2012 PLUMMETS
Results day is done and dusted, and the exact numbers of students starting at Southampton for the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year – commencing in just a couple of weeks – […]
Results day is done and dusted, and the exact numbers of students starting at Southampton for the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year – commencing in just a couple of weeks – are being finalised.
As feared previously, there has been a massive slump in student recruitment: since 2011 there has been a drop of more than 600 PLACES. That is approximately a WHOLE COURSE’S WORTH of applicants – a figure previously predicted by the university.
Like other Russell Group universities, Southampton received a cap from the government, only being allowed to recruit 1,500 students with grades less than AAB. Most the places are therefore intended for students who receive grades AAB and above. The University, however, has this year struggled to draw in enough of these highly-achieving students, which is why the slump has emerged.
These high standards are where the problem arises. The University is charging the £9,000 fees for every course; however, not being an elite university, they do not always attract enough of the most highly-performing students. This middle position has left Southampton with the worst of both worlds.
In an email to staff (which can be viewed here) explaining the situation, the Vice-Chancellor described this as a ‘frustrating time’ but stated there was “no need … to over-react”; Nutbeam – who receives a salary of £300,000 per annum – also consoled the University’s workers that no financial problems should arise due to this huge drop in numbers.
Here at Southampton the discontent with the fee increase has been fore-fronted by groups of students who believe that higher education is something that should be valued and given to those who are gifted and talented enough to have it (as opposed to something that has market value, allowing it to be bought and sold).
However, Tory ministers such as David Willetts (Minister for Universities and Science) claim to share this ideal: in a world where going to university is becoming taken for granted, their value of education is the exact reason why the fees have gone up. For the standard undergraduate 3-year course, loans and grants will still be available for those who will struggle to pay.
Will a reduction of 600 students have a positive outcome? At least the notorious Sobar queues may be less painful with fewer freshers around.
Will this drop in intake be a temporary blip with emotions still raw over the fee increase? Or is the outlook bleak for future years? Let us know what you think in comments.