The first set of UCAS data on applications to higher education for admission in 2012, under the new fee regime, were published on October 24th, following the October 15th closing date for applications to Oxbridge and to Medicine/Dentistry/Veterinary courses.
The figures show an overall reduction in applicants, compared with this stage last year, of 9% (11.9% for UK applicants) but a much smaller –1.1% for UK 18 year olds – reduction in applicants for programmes subject to the October 15th deadline. . There are gender differences – 10.5% reduction in applications from females compared with a 7% reduction in applications from males. And there are worrying regional differences – Greater London and the South East show below average reductions of 9.1% and 8.1% respectively, whilst the North West shows a reduction of 13.9% and all regions are in double figures. Applications from Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland and from other EU countries are also down. Older applicants are more deterred. The overall reduction in applications (compared to this time last year) is only 2.5% for 18 year olds but goes up quickly to 13.2% for 19 year olds and remains at this kind of level for all students above this age.
But it is early days. The final deadline for UCAS applications is January 15th and a surge of applications are expected after the half term holiday. There will be an anxious wait for some universities, however, if their own applicant figures are showing a proportionately higher drop at this stage. For more information go to http://www.ucas.ac.uk/about_us/media_enquiries/media_releases/2011/20111024