Universities across the country have suffered a 12 per cent drop in applications for the next academic year as York departments are facing unpredictable figures.
The Biology Department has already confirmed they have experienced a drop of 12 per cent in applications for next year and Brian Cantor, University Vice-Chancellor, has confirmed to Nouse that many departments have seen a fall in the figures this year.
In the face of next year’s rise in fees, UCAS are already reporting lower early application figures for 2012 entry.
While 14 universities have bucked the trend, reporting higher figures than last year, the majority have witnessed a significant drop in applicants. Ucas have revealved that some 52,321 students have sent their university applications in already, compared to 59,413 this time last year.
Despite various claims that there has been an increased interest in open days, it would seem that A Level students are being dissuaded by the prospect of £9,000-a-year tuition fees – the level that the University of York will be charging.
Additionally, while figures for 18-year-old applicants have dropped, more students over 19 are applying than last year, suggesting that students are taking a year, or more, out to consider their options.
Online surveys have revealed that an average of one in ten A Level students are put off by the competition for places, and the 300 per cent rise in fees.
The Times Higher Education supplement have also recorded a 40.6 per cent drop in applications for ‘soft subjects’ such as media studies and creative arts, while more ‘serious’ subjects such as maths and languages have come off comparatively better, suffering only a 3 per cent drop between them.
The trend for taking a gap year seems to be becoming even more appealing to students; approximately 160,000 A Level students take a year out after their exams, to work, resit exams, or travel the world trying to gain some experience.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, commented: “Historically, the application figures at the end of October have proven to be unreliable indicators of the final numbers. It may also be that students are taking longer this year to consider their options.”
Monica Bandiera, University of York Biology admissions tutor, took a similar stance. She was keen to stress that, while the departmental admissions figures are down, “last year we saw a huge increase in admissions figures which is why it is difficult to make a judgement on the figures this year, and to make an accurate comparison. It is too early in the admissions process to make any definite conclusions.”
It would also seem that this drop in figures was predictable, given that the last time fees trebled – in 2006, jumping from £1,000 to £3,000 a year – applications were down 4.5 per cent.
It also appears that only British students are being more careful this year: applications from outside the EU have risen 8.8 per cent.