A recent survey has shown that the number of students applying for university has returned to a figure similar to that before tuition fees were raised.
According to UCAS data, applications to UK universities dropped to 408,000 last year when the tuition fees increase was officially put into place. However, this academic year’s data shows that the number of UK and EU students admitted to study undergraduate degrees in 2013-2014 is 446,000, a significant increase in numbers.
The year before, figures rose to 465,000 as many students surged to get their applications in before the increase was introduced. The average of UK acceptances over the last four years therefore amounts to 440,000 and the most recent figures are slightly above this average.
“This latest UCAS data shows that acceptances have bounced back,” said Universities Minister David Willetts.
“This year more students are getting their first-choice university than ever before.”
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Universities UK lobbying group, also stated: “It is good news to see an increase in acceptances compared to last year. It shows that applicants are continuing to recognise the value of a university education. At a time when the 18-year-old population group, the largest group of applicants, has been shrinking, this is also significant.”
UCAS data also revealed a slight increase in the number of students being accepted with at least two As and a B grade at A-level or equivalent: in total 110,000 students were accepted with AAB grades or higher. This is also a plus for the universities that have accepted them them as students with grades as high as these are not included in the government’s cap on numbers for each university.
Encouragingly, the recovery in student numbers suggests that students leaving school are not put off by the increase in fees and are just as eager to go on to further education as ever.