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Young Brits lose their faith in the power of a degree

Published: Wednesday, 18 April 2012   Category: All Graduate Jobs News

The number of UK applicants who are due to enrol in university in the next academic year has fallen by 12%.

The drop is said to be due to a combination of tuition fees rising to unprecedented levels as well as people losing faith in the value of degrees generally.

The figures were published by the Universities Colleges and Admissions Service. They reveal that 52,321 applicants have come from the UK for the upcoming academic year, compared to 59,413 who applied in 2010.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, lays the blame squarely at the door of the coalition’s decision to raise tuition fees to unprecedented levels.

“It (the decision to increase fees generally) is clearly having a serious impact on the choices young people make,” suggested Mrs Hunt. “People should study the right course for them, not just the cheapest one or none at all. These depressing figures take us back to the time when it was cost, not ability that determined your future.”

Help may be at hand for those who are allowing the increased fees to put them off attending university entirely.

Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, which represents 20 of the leading universities in the UK, has cited increased funding in high level education over the coming years as a reason not give up hope.

“Students should certainly not be put off university by the new fees and funding system. If you’re good enough to get in, you can afford to go,” Piatt said. “We will continue to urge every student with the talent, potential and ability to succeed at a Russell Group university to apply.

“In addition to the government’s student support package and the fee waivers and bursaries that our universities offer, we will continue actively to reach out to students from all backgrounds, especially those with no family history of higher education.”

Have the new fees put you off the idea of pursuing higher education? Would you be eligible for the bursaries and support packages available? Would you favour a graduate position over one which doesn’t require qualifications?

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