The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service today publishes evidence of yet another large increase in applications and acceptances at higher education institutions, with applications increasing by 8.7% in 2009-10. Commenting on the figures, GuildHE Chair Professor Ruth Farwell, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said:


“This is a clear demonstration of the sector’s success in attracting people to higher education who are concerned about their future job prospects. The figures show that potential graduates are clamouring to study subjects beyond STEM with clear career-training paths in, for example, nursing, teaching and the creative sector, which is expected to employ more people than the financial sector by 2013.


“Notably, many smaller institutions that excel in these subjects have seen dramatic increases in applications and have a proven capacity to expand their numbers. Buckinghamshire New University celebrated the highest percentage increase in applicants of a UK university for its full-time undergraduate honours degree courses last year, and a 39% increase overall, and our application figures have been sustained this year.


“The figures, which include a 15% increase in applications from those over 25 years of age, show not only how many individuals are seeking to change direction in their careers but also that HEIs are succeeding in widening participation. GuildHE members have an above-average record in admissions from low-participation areas.


“In this context we should not forget that significant numbers of well-qualified and able applicants are still denied the opportunity to benefit from higher education: there are still not enough places on relevant courses. We urge the Government to consider the implications of restrictions on student numbers, to take account of the willingness of institutions to offer courses in the right subjects to applicants from all backgrounds, and to ensure the UK is not left behind through under-investment in higher education.


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


For more information, please contact:

Professor Ruth Farwell, Chair GuildHE and Vice-Chancellor, Buckinghamshire New University
tel. 01494 605 113

Nick Johnstone, Policy Officer, GuildHE
tel. 020 7387 7711

Notes to editors

1. Statistics published by UCAS are available here

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. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please click here

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, we deliver high-quality scholarship, as well as focused research and professional practice.