Has The Coalition Caused The Drop In University Applicants?

by A Guest Author

Hold back on the graduation gifts.

The government’s decision to hike up tuition fees has made a significant impact on the number of applicants wanting to go to university in 2012.

According to a report from the Independent Commission on Fees, around 15,000 people have been deterred from applying for further education because of the inflated fees imposed by the government. Institutions can now offer courses for a maximum of £9,000 a year – three times the amount of recent years. To be specific, the average tuition fees for entry at English universities in 2012/13 is £8,385 and will advance further to £8,507 in 2013/14.

The immediate conclusion to such figures would be to suggest that the coalition’s policy to raise prices – in a bid to help recover the UK economy - has spectacularly backfired and affected the futures of those wanting to continue their educational development and find a career in a specialised field which, in many cases, requires a minimum application pre-requisite of a university degree.

To yet further demonstrate the point that the government’s change of policy has been the significant factor in the drop, the report shows that there has been no fall in applications from Scotland and Wales – both of whom have not seen a rise in fees.

In comparison with 2010 numbers, there has been an 8.8 per cent fall in the number of people applying for a university course. For young people, aged 18 and 19, there has been a 7.2 per cent drop.

It almost seems inconceivable that individuals who want to better themselves are being punished by being ordered to pay such insurmountable fees. As a counter, the government argues that graduates only start paying back their debt when they are in a full-time job earning above the threshold of £21,000. What is less transparent is the amount of interest that people must adhere to before they start to reimburse their tuition fees.

The president of the National Union of Students, Liam Burns, said it is a “tragedy” for young people to be put off applying for university because of financial reservations – it’s hard to disagree.

While the demand for university places still outweighs the actual supply – this year there are 618,000 for 492,000 places – the standard and quality of prospective students surely has to be put into question.  If there’s 15,000 people missing from the application process, who’s to say that some of those won’t have been amongst the most progressive and productive students?

In the long-term, surely the economy and the employment sector can only suffer as a whole?

If specialist industries have a smaller pool of potential graduates to choose from and there are more young people looking for full-time jobs after school, doesn’t that mean that there will be an increase in people who are unemployed and claiming job seekers allowance?

The Minister of State for Universities David Willetts claims that young people shouldn’t be deterred from applying for higher education because of tuition fees. It might be too late, David. Looks like they already have been.

Guest Author:

An experienced and talented copywriter, Matthew Wood writes SEO savvy content for a collection of online publications and web projects.  Matthew's latest work involves writing creative and engaging content on the subjects of Graduation Gifts and Gift Ideas for the established online brand Evie Darling.

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