Fewer University Applications

For the first time in four years, the number of people applying to university has fallen by 4%. That’s 25,000 people that have been looking at an alternative route and this could be for a number of different reasons. 37% of college leavers usually go to university. As university becomes more and more unattractive for students, other options are being considered such as apprenticeships, general employment and studying for qualifications while working. 

Student Loans and University Fees

This is the first decline since fees were last increased in 2012, and with fees set to increase to £9,250, this year University seems to be out of reach for more people. Not only are fees set to increase, but interest rates are rising from 4.6% to 6.1% this autumn. This

It is fair to say that the cost of University is one of the only negative points about it (other than the lack of work experience that you get if you do not have a placement year). The cost of university is dividing the lower classes and middle to upper classes even more as it becomes more expensive. There is now a larger disparity between young people from a lower income family and a higher income family.

Alternative Routes

There is an increase in college leavers that we speak to who are now not even considering University as an option. Not due to the fact tuition fees are rising, or even due to the fact that they don’t want to move away from home but for the reason that there are so many more alternative routes available.

From taking a gap year and going straight into work to starting an apprenticeship – they are seeing more value in these routes. This may be due to the fact that jobs are so much more competitive than they have been in the past and a degree no longer puts you ahead of other candidates. Employers are now looking at applicants with more experience in industry rather than qualifications- this has been the case for a while now, but the increase in tuition fees will only exasperate this. It’s the work experience that you have that stands you in good stead – so an apprenticeship is actually a great alternative. Degree apprenticeships are the future as we have said before, you can read that blog here.

Nursing Bursaries

The sharpest decline in course applications is the number of applicants to nursing courses. This is due to the fact that many health students will be no longer receiving the NHS bursary, instead, they will use the normal student loan system.

For many people looking at going into nursing, going through a university and gaining a degree just seems like a less viable option. Especially with the length of courses and the fairly average nursing wage. However, there are other alternatives to being a nurse. The Government have announced nursing apprenticeships which are due to start in September. This would of benefit to a lot of people looking to forge a career in the health industry.

Mature Students and EU students

Although the number of 18-year-olds applying to University has actually risen, the number of mature students (those aged 25 and over) has actually dropped by 18%! This is very concerning as mature students tend to be a large proportion of University students. With more people looking at going into employment rather than go to University. The number of EU students applying to study at UK universities has also declined- this is down to a variety of issues such as Brexit which we have discussed here.

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