Libertarian. Enjoys politics, technology, music, food and drink.
Looks like a little time for rational reflection amid the tuition fees increases. Those starting university in September 2011 will be the last to pay the existing level of fees for our university education. At multiple points over the past year we heard how there would be a mad rush to attend university this year, with many who would have deferred otherwise, choosing to attend in September, and many cutting their various time off or gap periods in half.
The predictions, based on figures from the end of May this year, show the smallest increase over the past few years. 1.4% more applicants are expected to apply to university this year than last year (via the Telegraph’s “Record 700,000 students compete for university places“). Yet, looking at UCAS’s “Data Summary,” we can see this is a smaller increase than the past five years.
Between 2006 and 2007, there was a 5.27% increase in applications. Between 2007 and 2008, there was a 9.2% increase in applications. Between 2008 and 2009, there was a 7.9% increase in university applications. Between 2009 and 2010, there was a 6.8% increase in university applications.
Could it be that we’ve finally hit the application saturation point, certainly a 1.4% increase would imply so. The single largest increase was the year the recession hit and there suddenly was a fear for jobs. Over the next few years as the growth (hopefully) returns and the numbers of pupils applying for university finally levels, perhaps we will be able to access more clearly the issue of university place numbers.
Don’t get me wrong; I know that the real test will be this time next year. Then we’ll be able to see the full effect, but for now I think that the levels will be higher than some that the sceptics predicted. And next year, should applications level out more, or decrease, lets remember the figures from a few years ago when we didn’t have such rapid demand for university.
And of course, all of this is to say nothing of the fact that I think these figures should be decreasing anyway, but this seems to be a losing argument at the moment.