UK University applications fall as students are deterred by rising fees.

Latest figures show that demand for degree courses across the UK is down by almost 9% overall in the last year.

English students are being affected most by the new system and face the highest fees, their applications dropping by 10% in total, which is almost five times the figure (2.2%) observed in Scottish students who receive free tuition. Students reaching the end of their A-levels at the age of 18 have presented a drop in applications of 4%  however in Scotland overall applications in this bracket have actually risen by 0.3%.

A discussion on The Student Room has users considering how the rise in fees will affect their university experience:

‘It’s not the most popular thing to say, but I actually think it’s a good policy. it means that everyone pays nothing at the point of use for their education, and they get a lot of help to pay for other costs too. Also, the fact that the people who benefit the most from education are the students themselves, as they often go on to earn a lot more than non graduates, It makes it fairer to place most of the burden on them.’

‘Will it prevent the families with low income from sending their children to the better universities?

Not at all. Anyone has the right to higher education regardless of income. Nearly all students take the full tuition fee loan unless they or their parents can afford to pay them off year by year. The only problem here is money to sustain your living during University.

With the repayment, if you take out the tuition fee loan you do not have to pay anything back unless you earn £21000 or over starting the April after you graduate. Even so, it will only be 9% of what you earn over the £21000.’

Although UCAS figures show that there has been a significant drop from previous years the shortfall has been largely made up from the continuing high demand from foreign students outside of Europe. The number of students applying from mainland Europe has dropped by almost 13%, however.

Results reveal that demand for arts subjects is down more than other degree subjects. Applications for creative arts and design courses is down by 16%, media and film studies by 14%, medicine and dentistry just 3% and engineering at 2%.

The sharp differences in demand between courses suggests that many students are reluctant to select courses for enjoyment and academic fulfilment alone and are seeking a a course that offers a set career path post-degree.