University applications in the UK – what can we conclude?
Ahead of the deadline for applications for university places later this month, the UK’s higher education admissions agency, UCAS, has revealed some initial information about applications received so far. Applications to English universities are up 3.3 per cent, while those to Scottish universities are down by 15 per cent. Applications by school leavers have fallen, but those by mature students have increased.
There is also a growing gender gap, with 58 per cent of applications now coming from women.
There are clearly major changes taking place in the higher education demographics, and it will be important to consider these and to ascertain what impact they should have on policy. Maybe understandably much of the media attention will focus on the effect of rising English tuition fees, but there are many other factors as well that need to be taken into account. Questions will also need to be asked about whether the data should prompt further reforms in higher education teaching and learning methods.