Figures released today by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service on yet another record number of applications received so far for the 2010-11 academic year.


These figures show that applicants to higher education remain undeterred by the Government’s restriction of student numbers for 2010-11. The figures include a 45.5% increase in the number of applicants who are reapplying from last year. Higher education also continues to attract older applicants, with a 63% rise in applications from over-25s.


Commenting on the figures, Prof. Ruth Farwell, Chair of GuildHE and Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said:


“It is pleasing to see that the position of GuildHE member institutions remains strong and that the value of higher education is still appreciated as life-changing as well as career-enhancing. But what is more worrying is that institutions, eager and already prepared to meet the demand, cannot keep expanding. We expect that innovative proposals for meeting student demand and for ensuring the sustainability of the sector will be considered by the Independent Review of Fees and Funding. However, what is clear is that we cannot wait for the Review to conclude: we need to think about a holistic interim solution for entry in 2010.


“Two examples from the UCAS figures bear out this point. Firstly, UCAS has already pointed out that the dramatic leap in nursing applications – up almost 75 per cent on last year – may illustrate a rush on the Nursing Diploma in the last years before it is phased out. The word on the street is that the non-means tested bursary for nursing students will be phased out at the same time, but this may not necessarily be the case. To a large number of people, nursing training remains an attractive endeavour – including to those mature people who may be looking for an alternative career in a relatively secure and valued profession.


“Secondly, the figures incorporate some changes to the application system for creative subjects. This will help demonstrate the relative popularity of a group of subjects whose attractiveness, it has long been known, has grown considerably as their importance to our economic future becomes increasingly evident. UCAS have already pointed out that their rise this year – on paper, applications are up over 100 per cent for Design Studies – is a result of changes to application deadlines. Nevertheless, the numerical statistics also tell the tale of their popularity: over 80,000 applications for Design degrees were made last year, more even than Pre-Clinical Medicine.


“We also applaud the flexibility shown by UCAS in extending its application deadline for 2010 entry until 22 January due to the bad weather in January.”


For more information, please contact:

Professor Ruth Farwell, Chair GuildHE, Vice-Chancellor, Buckinghamshire New University

tel. 01494 605 113
Nick Johnstone Policy Officer GuildHE

tel. 020 7387 7711


Notes to editors

1.         For UCAS’s complete statistical tables for 2010-11

2.         GuildHE members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in higher education. Many are important providers in subjects of critical importance to the new economy as well as teacher-training, nursing, tourism and land studies.
3.         Buckinghamshire New University is the only publicly-funded higher education institution in Buckinghamshire, providing quality, inclusive and relevant higher education that develops and builds the potential of individuals and organisations alike.  Within a caring and supportive environment, it delivers high-quality scholarship, as well as focused research and professional practice.



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