UCAS reveals Oxbridge University applications increase despite tuition fee rise
Increasing numbers of students are applying for Oxbridge places and medical courses for 2013, according to figures published this week from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
UCAS confirmed an average increase of 2 % for the same courses this time last year.
Over 57,000 applications have been received for dentistry, medicine, or veterinary science courses or to study at Oxford or Cambridge, before the early deadline of 15th October.
UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock said she was “optimistic about overall demand”.
With the new tuition fees system, students starting university next year will have to pay up to £9000 per year – three times more than the previous limit. This has led to a consistent drop in applications for the current academic year. However, figures show that this trend is likely to change as students target degree subjects and universities leading to well-paid careers, and expect better value for money in return for increased fees.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, warned about comparing figures from last year, when “students rushed to avoid the new pernicious fees regime”.
After falling in 2011, applications among English students, who will pay the highest fees, are up by 1.7 %. Students from other parts of the UK will be heavily subsidized for their tuition. However, Scottish applications, despite generous support, were down by 1 % and Welsh demands dropped by 3.9 %, while students from Northern Ireland registered an increase of 2 %.
Demand from European students, who pay the same fees as British students, were up by 1.8 % while applications from students outside the EU also rose by 5.1 % despite the fact they are required to pay considerably higher fees.
An Oxford University spokesman explained the increase by drawing attention to the fact that their university offers a wider financial support programme for low-income students than any other UK university, charging the same fees. “An Oxford degree offers significant added value on top of the normal lectures, labs and seminars that students at a normal university would get.”
He added: “Even in one of the toughest economic climates in recent memory, […] the number of employers looking to recruit Oxford graduates has steadily risen. […] Oxford undergraduates who go on to full-time jobs have a median salary 20 % higher than the UK average six months after graduating.“