It seems that the Government received a warning in 2011 that changes to student numbers would result to problems in university and college admission, Tim Moynihan reports for The Independent, citing documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Times Higher Education.
For the cycle years 2011 to 2012, around 620,000 aspiring students submitted their applications, along with other papers like personal statement, to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service or UCAS, hoping to be accepted by their chosen higher education schools. Choosing a university or college is easier for these students than being able to gain entry to their selected higher education institution.
This is supported by the recently published figures by UCAS, a non-profit organisation tasked to manage applications to universities and colleges in the UK. The figures show that for the 2012-2013 entry, around 340,000 UK and European Union students were taking up places in higher education institutions in England. This figure reflects a 14 per cent drop over the number of UK and EU students who entered institutions in England in the 2011-2012 entry year, at around 395,000 individuals. These are some of the figures released by UCAS for international students.
The revelation that UCAS has warned the Government over the AAB system comes as concerns has been raised over a decrease in the number of new students entering universities and colleges this year. While there is almost a steady flow of applicants submitting personal statement and applications, there is also a huge dip in the number of undergraduates entering higher education for the term year 2012 to 2013.
It is estimated that the loss income from the drop in the number of students could cost the education sector around £1.3 billion spread over three years.
In addition to that, UCAS figures showed that 79,200 students received AAB grades or higher in A-level and equivalent qualifications. The figures fell short of expectations, which is at around 85,000 students. This has several of the most selective universities in the UK face substantial deficit in the number of students under the AAB system, which was introduced in order to enable such higher education institutions to expand. For an AAB student choosing a degree in higher education, going to these schools could be a good decision. Under higher education reforms, universities could recruit as many students scoring AAB or equivalent as they want. In the next school year though, universities could also commence recruiting as many students with an A and two Bs at A-level or equivalent as they want.
It is believed that the problem of diving student numbers has been caused by fewer students than expected achieving top grades. Fewer applicants are also submitting personal statement and applicants due to rising tuition fees.