UCAS application figures show that York is doing significantly better than the national average with only a 1.6 per cent fall in overall applicants from this time last year.
However applications from overseas students (excluding the EU) have dropped by over 6 per cent, excluding deferrals; and a large decrease in numbers would be financially problematic.
The figures for York show that last year 13,865 students had applied, while this year the figure was 225 less at 13,640.
The Student Recruitment and Admissions Office has suggested that it expects to have received only 55 – 60 per cent of total applications for this year at this time in the application cycle.
Current national figures show a 15 per cent decrease in applications to universities. While the application deadline is not until 15th January, these figures indicate that York is set to see little difference in overall figures – but could see a larger decrease in overseas students.
In the finance strategy published in November Graham Gilbert, Director of Finance, said: “In terms of dependence over £16m of future annual revenues and up to 50% of cashflow can be tied back to the University’s continued ability to attract good quality students from abroad.”
Tightening student visa restrictions, announced by the Coalition government, will also have an affect on the number of overseas students applying to York and a large decrease would impact on the University’s financial situation.
Jane Grenville, Pro Vice-Chancellor for students, commented on the reasons for York’s overall stable application figures by suggesting that there are a group of universities that will see high application figures regardless of the level of fees they set. Instead it is because of their reputation or location in cities with good nightlife.
“There are a group of five universities who are always at the top and then a group of ten, with York included in that, who move up and down behind them. Last time the fees were increased threefold there was a blip for a year and then everyone came back.”
“The reputation of the university counts; Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds all have constantly high application numbers because of the city and the clubs as well as the university.”
Graeme Osborn, YUSU Academic Officer, emphasised the role the University’s access agreement may have played in encouraging students to continue to apply to York, commenting: “I am pleased that the University is performing well above the national average.
“I think this reflects the access agreement which includes the ability for students to choose how they receive their funding; fee waivers, bursaries or accommodation fees.”
“There are a group of five universities who are always at the top and then a group of ten, with York included in that”
Jane Grenville, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for students
Grenville added that: “There may have been a decrease nationally because of the fees and the way the fees have been represented in the national press.”