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Media reports on recently-released data further indicate a decline in university applications for 2013 entry, as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) January deadline is passed.
The preliminary statistics indicate that applications are still falling, and Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the Million+ group, confirms that there is ‘no evidence of any great bounce back’. The BBC claims that Tatlow is calling for a ‘government-backed campaign to promote higher education’, in order to encourage students to apply to universities. It has been said that there was ‘close scrutiny’ to see whether last year’s decline in applications was a temporary blip or a long-term trend. When the fees were last increased to up to £3,000 a year, ‘there was a one-year decline’ before the number of applications began to increase. The BBC reports that ‘this year’s official figures – up to mid-December – have shown a further fall of 6.3% compared with the previous year’.
The roots of the decline are exhibited by the case of Sophie May, an A-level student currently studying in her second year. May stated that she has no intention of going to university, because she personally cannot see the benefit, stating that it is nothing more than ‘three years of stress and several decades of debt’.
Sophie states that, upon considering her options for the future, she felt it seemed to be ‘increasingly difficult to get a well-paid, enjoyable job in the current economic climate,’ particularly as the job market is over-saturated with new graduates searching for jobs. She argues that, rather than just searching for great degrees, employers are now also seeking people with work experience; as such, rather continuing into further education, she has decided to ‘gain experience’ and find employment after completing her A-levels.
SCAN is awaiting further details of the current state of Lancaster’s application numbers, which had earlier been reported as having declined.