University Applications Fall Despite Surge In Foreign Students

According to the latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), applications for UK universities have decreased by 11,000 this autumn compared to the previous year, despite foreign students showing increased interest. This 2% decline is partially explained by a reduction in the number of 18-year-olds in the population eligible to apply for university. However, there has also been a significant drop in applications from mature students, particularly for nursing courses, which saw a 10% decline in applications compared to last year.

Ucas has urged the UK government to review its approach to mature students within its post-18 education and funding scheme. The body’s recent figures show a growing number of lower and middle-ranking higher education institutions competing for students to fill their programmes. However, nursing courses have seen a dramatic decline in applications after NHS bursaries were stopped in favour of higher tuition fees, leading to concerns about hospital staffing levels.

Despite this negative news, Ucas data from 24 March indicates that applications for full-time undergraduate courses made by 18-year-olds in England increased by 0.3 percentage points compared to the previous year. However, there were still 3,000 fewer applications due to a 2.3% fall in the number of 18-year-olds overall. Furthermore, the number of EU applicants rose by 2%, with 46,040 seeking places, and applications from overseas students from outside the EU reached a record high of 65,440, up 8%.

Viewed positively, these figures demonstrate that full-time degrees remain an attractive prospect for young people, and UK higher education is desirable for global students. Nevertheless, the decreased number of applications from mature students seeking university education must be addressed, according to Ucas chief executive, Clare Marchant. She urged the UK government to implement measures specifically to support mature students seeking to develop their potential through higher education.


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