The latest application figures show that there are less applicants seeking to study their chosen courses at their selected universities and colleges in the United Kingdom, Sean Coughlan writes for BBC News. The latest numbers were released by the Universities and Colleges Admission Service, or UCAS, a non-profit organization in charge of managing the application process in the UK.
According to the figures released by UCAS, there is a significant decrease on the applicants domiciled in the UK. As of June 30, 2012, UCAS received 515,663 applications from applicants residing in the UK, compared to 566,002 applications from UK applicants received for autumn 2011. This represents a difference of 50,339 UK applicants, or equivalent to a decrease of 8.9 per cent.
Among the UK countries, England suffered the biggest drop. For autumn 2012, applicants from England who submitted applications and personal statement UCAS suggested numbered just 430,755. This reflects a 10 per cent decline in submissions from applicant in that part of the UK, which numbered 478,590 for autumn 2011.
There were also lesser applicants from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data show that there were only 42,515, 23,245 and 19,148 applicants from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively for the autumn 2012. The figures are much lesser than in autumn 2011, when there 43,437, 23,935 and 20,040 applicants from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.
Despite the decline in the number of applicants who are sending their applications and personal statements to UCAS in order to gain admission to their selected universities and colleges, Universities Minister David Willetts remains optimistic. According to Mr. Willetts, the application figures for autumn 2012 were the second highest on record. He added that tens of thousands of applicants were still expected to send their applications and personal statement UCAS recommends.
"This will still be a competitive year like any other as people continue to understand that university remains a good long term investment for their future," said Mr Willetts.
One of the main reasons why there are lesser people who are seeking to study their courses at universities and colleges in UK is the recent decision of the government to allow the increase of tuition fees up to £9,000. Shabana Mahmood, Labour's universities spokeswoman, took good note of this and said that the tuition increase is hitting young people and their aspirations.
Sally Hunt, leader of the UCU lecturers' union, shared the same sentiment as Ms. Mahmood, describing the tuition increase as “punitive financial barriers.”
Nonetheless, the increase failed to discouraged hundreds of thousands of people to write persuasive personal statement UCAS recommends just to get admitted into their university and college of choice and study the course or field of their preference.