University insists widening participation at home is still important

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UCAS applications to Lancaster University have increased by 35% this year, from home and EU students, in comparison to a 4-5% rise nationally. This has been put down to the recent success in the league tables as well as outreach programs provided by the University.

“Lancaster is now at the cutting edge, with a handful of universities, in being very much a global, research led institution and this is having a positive effect on our profile,” said Fred Binley, the Head of Student Recruitment and Outreach, who described the increase in applications as ‘phenomenal’. He added: “The calibre of students we are attracting is definitely improving which is noticeable in the typical entry requirements we are asking for our programmes.”

Despite plans to significantly increase the number of international students on campus by 2015, Binley does not feel UK outreach comes second place. “The University is not neglecting UK outreach or recruitment; we need a healthy complement of both UK and international students to keep Lancaster a diverse and vibrant campus,” he said.

Lancaster’s UK Student Recruitment and Outreach program has developed a series of talks, workshops and masterclasses as well as visiting opportunities for schools, colleges and prospective students to engage with Lancaster. Their aim is to encourage students from all backgrounds to access higher education, particularly those students who come from communities that are under-represented in higher education.

“We work with around 300 schools in the UK of which about 65% are in the North/Northwest and attend over 100 recruitment fairs and events in the UK including the Islands (Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey). We also deliver 150 engaging presentations on workshops in schools and colleges on higher education and how to apply to university,” said Binley.

The North/Northwest accounts for 50% of the students recruited to Lancaster. However, there has been an increase in the regionalisation of applicants, which follows the national trend.

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