Commenting on the latest UCAS figures for applicants to higher education in 2011/12, published today, Andy Westwood, CEO of GuildHE, said:

“Although we have now entered a period when the population of English young people is in decline, this rise in applications once again confirms the continuous growth in demand for higher education that has been the pattern of recent years for both young and mature students. 

“Today’s figures show that the increase in applicants seeking entry in September is smaller than last year. But figures also show that students are looking to smaller, specialist institutions which provide key skills for economic growth. For example, applicants to creative art and design courses have grown by 11.8% overall, and specialist University College Falmouth has seen a 33.6% increase in applications compared to 2010. Continued strong demand for HE-based teacher education is evident: with 8.5% growth in applicants across the sector, and a 23.9% increase in applications at Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln.

“The figures are likely to include an increase in reapplications from disappointed but capable applicants following last year’s record demand. There may also be fewer applicants deferring, before the increase in graduate contributions from 2012/13. However, the government’s restriction on student numbers is set to remain in place this year. 

“Entry to HE is always competitive, and the date by which students are encouraged to apply has now passed. But that should not deter further applications, since places are still available for able students. There is a wide array of choices: opportunities for part-time, distance learning, or vocationally-focussed programmes are still out there alongside traditional full-time degrees. GuildHE encourages students to look carefully at the available options, using the information available on institutions’ websites or through UCAS, and to apply for the type of study that best suits their circumstances. Information is also available on financial support for students, which applicants should consult at the earliest opportunity.”

For more information and comment, please contact:

Andy Westwood
Tel: 020 7387 7711
Mobile: 07909 960033

Notes to editors
1. GuildHE is a recognised higher education representative body. Its 32 members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in the sector. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please visit:

2. The latest UCAS applicant figures, and applications by institution, are available at