Ucas figures for the 2012 university cycle have revealed the impact of the rise in tuition fees. There were almost 54,000 fewer students beginning courses this year than there were in 2011. Students accepting places at universities in England dropped by 6.6%
Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: ‘The headline numbers in this report signal the challenging environment for recruitment in 2012 for some parts of UK higher education. However, the underlying findings are more subtle – for example, although demand for higher education has fallen in England, the actual entry rates for young people are close to trend.’
She also spoke of her concern that ‘women remain more likely to enter higher education than men’, with 257,000 women starting university this year, compared to 208,000 men. The chief executive described the trend as a ‘striking and worrying finding.’
Not all figures were in decline: acceptance rates in Wales went up by 5.3% and rates of entry for disadvantaged 18 year olds increased in the UK.