The following article recently featured in The Daily Telegraph discusses “Record Oxbridge applications as students seek good value ”.
Almost 57,000 people had lodged applications by mid-October for university courses starting next year, an increase of more than 1,100 or 2 per cent from last year. Demand among English students, who will pay the highest fees, also rose after a fall at the same point in 2011.
Yesterday’s figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service cover applications to Oxford and Cambridge, which must be submitted by Oct 15. It also includes medicine, dentistry and veterinary science degree courses at all other British universities.
Students starting courses next year will be only the second cohort to pay annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 — almost three times the previous limit. It led to a sharp drop in applications this year but the latest figures suggest that opposition to the higher fees regime is now beginning to soften.
The data is also likely to reflect a “flight to quality” as students target universities and degree subjects that are more likely to lead to a well-paid career.
Mary Curnock Cook, the UCAS chief executive, said the figures were “encouraging”, adding that she was “optimistic about overall demand.” Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said the increase was welcome, but warned that the data were set against the sharp drop in applications last year, when “students rushed to avoid the new pernicious fees regime”.
Demand was also up by 1.8 per cent among European students, who pay the same fees as their British counterparts.
Students from outside Europe are often required to pay far higher fees, but demand was still strong from them, with numbers up by 5.1 per cent to more than 10,000. This appears to contradict claims by universities that foreign students would be put off applying to British universities by tough new visa regulations.