Commenting on new figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service showing a 5.6 per cent rise in the number of UK students entering higher education this autumn, Professor Ruth Farwell, Chair of the higher education representative body GuildHE and Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said:
“These figures suggest that there may be a worrying gap between the rising demand for higher education courses and the number of applicants that are finding a place. The number of applications rose to 633,592 for entry this year compared with 582,657 last year – an increase of nearly 9 per cent. Although we do not know exactly how many extra places were available this year, it seems likely that more prospective students have been left out in the cold.
“Even taking into account the fact that not all applicants are suitably qualified, it is disconcerting to think that our efforts to raise aspirations and widen participation in higher education could be wasted if many people who could benefit from higher education have been turned away because of funding constraints.
“Peter Mandelson has described higher education as the nearest thing we have to a silver bullet for tackling social mobility. Surely then it is time to recognise that it is a false economy to save money by placing restrictions on places that could save thousands from the dole queue and lead to a better skilled workforce in the longer term as well as supporting life chances?”
For more information, please contact:
Professor Ruth Farwell
Tel: 01494 605113