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Latest UCAS figures point to a 4% drop in university applications

Thursday 13 July 2017 Higher Education

NUS has responded to figures released by UCAS today which show an overall drop in university applicants of 4 per cent, and a drop of 5 per cent in EU applicants. Figures also show particularly sharp drops in the number of Black and Ethnic Minority applicants, applicants over eighteen and applicants for nursing courses.

NUS President Shakira Martin said today’s statistics backed NUS’ call for a rethink on how education is funded: “This is further evidence that the government urgently needs to review the education funding system.” She also labelled the claim that rising fees and a lack of proper financial support for students have not deterred people from entering university as ‘clearly and completely untrue.”

Commenting on the figures, Shakira added: “We can see that there is a drop of 9 per cent in Black and Ethnic Minority applicants: a group which have consistently shown to be more debt-averse and therefore more likely to be put off by student fees. The sharp drop in mature students also highlights how completely unaffordable University is for many: applicants over 18 are less likely to be supported by their parents, more likely to have their own financial and caring responsibilities, and are more likely to be aware of the risks of taking on huge amounts of debt.

“The most horrifying figure released today is the 19 per cent drop in nursing applicants. That this huge drop follows cuts to nursing bursaries is no surprise. What is surprising is that the government could not foresee the catastrophic effect that these cuts would have. Traditionally, 50 per cent of nursing students are parents. When students are put in a position which essentially forces them to live in poverty while completing their studies, it is unsurprising that those with children feel unable to take part.

“The education funding system is not working, and as applicant numbers continue to drop the government needs to wake up to the reality that if we don’t review the system now, we will have to pay a huge price a few years down the line.”

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