Drop in applications – The Courier – February 12th

Newcastle among many others experiencing a drop in the number of prospective applicants

Applications to Newcastle University have dropped in comparison to 2011. The admissions service has seen a drop in around 1000 applications (4%), in line with national figures showing a 7.4% decline across UK universities.

The figures from UCAS, which were published following the application deadline on January 15th, is an indication that the trebling of student fees may not have effected applications to Newcastle as much as initially thought.
Certain courses have seen bigger drops than others with a 30% drop in those applying for Architecture courses, 30% for Technologies and 20% for Art and Design.
However some courses saw a marked increase, with an increase of nearly 70% for those applying to social sciences combined with arts and 24% increase for places in the Law school.
Newcastle’s competitors have also experienced a similar drop in applications. Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Northumbria (the universities who most frequently appear on the same UCAS application as Newcastle) has seen an average decline of 4% too.
The University has also seen a rise of 38% from Non-EU applications since last year and a 52% rise since 2012, compared to a 6% decline in UK applications (contrasting to the 8.7% national figure), and 15% from potential EU students.
The Medicine and Dentistry has seen 262 (6.16%) fewer people apply for places starting next year, despite the fact that subjects allied to medicine (such as Biomedical Sciences) has seen a 30% increase since 2010. The Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering has seen a drop of 8%, compared to a drop of less than 1% last year.
In general, there has been a sharper drop amongst male applicants, with 8.5% down on last year, with female applicants dropping by a smaller 6.7%.
However, one of the more surprising statistics is that there has only been a 0.2% drop in applications from the most disadvantaged fifth of the population, with a decline of 2.5% from the wealthiest.
Despite the rise in fees, some students will still be left without university places, as demand continues to outstrip supply. In comparison to this time last year, there are already 50,000 more applications than acceptances, and competition will be intensified as 10,000 government-funded places are cut.
David Willets, the Universities Minister, has highlighted how the proportion of school-leavers (barring last year) is greater than ever and is encouraged by how young-people from disadvantaged backgrounds have not been discouraged from going to university: “Even with a small reduction in applications, this will be a competitive year like any other as people continue to understand that university remains a good long-term investment in your future.”
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