UK Universities are buying up land, leasing buildings and refurbishing in a bid to create extra space for the expected influx of extra students following George Osborne’s complete lift on the cap of student numbers in 2015. This lifting of the cap was unexpectedly announced in 2013, implemented with 30,000 extra places offered in 2014 and fully lifted for the 2015 intake with an aim of offering 60,000 more places. Not everyone was ready but it looks like the 2016 entry figures will rise significantly.
Spends on marketing are rising as universities attempt to attract the best students: “According to a Freedom of Information request last year by Times Higher Education, universities collectively spent more than £36 million on student marketing in 2012-13, a rise of 14.7 per cent on 2011-12 and a 33 per cent rise on 2010-11”
But not all universities are following the trend. They don’t have space, finances for expansion and some like Cambridge are keen to maintain quality, something that many are concerned may be at risk with an opening of the market.
What does all this mean?
Already in 2015 it was reported that numbers were up by 3% and universities are obviously expecting that upward trend to rise further this year (see here).
(For more on statistics check out this PDF.)
Where will this lead to?
There are some concerns that the increase in Student Loans caused by an increase in the numbers of Home and EU students could lead to an economic crisis as, “The amount owed by EU students attending English universities stood at £343.6 million in 2013-14, a staggering 634 percent increase on the previous four years” as outlined in Genna Ash’s article.
Other fears are that the less prestigious institutions may be outplayed by the wealthier institutions as reported by the Guardian.
What will this mean for you in the short term?
More places especially for Home and EU students. We are already experiencing offers as soon as students apply as universities vie to attract the best students. So get your applications in! Especially you men out there as there are currently more females than males in Higher Education!