Students predict fall in university applications

In a recent survey of more than 100 students and graduates by Milkround, over 80% of respondents thought that raising tuition fees would have a negative impact on the number of university applicants.  And, perhaps of equal concern, more than half felt the degree they were currently studying or had obtained wasn’t worth the money.

Despite this, many students aren’t willing to compromise on gaining the full university experience in order to save money, rejecting a variety of potential alternatives.  More than a third (35%) wouldn’t consider staying at home while studying as a means of cutting costs, with less than a quarter (24%) regarding this as a strong potential option.

Nor was there much of a call for more degree subjects to be available online, with two-thirds (66%) of respondents dismissing this suggestion.

Roughly a third (31%) favoured the alternative of condensing three-year courses into two years, with the proviso that they didn’t forfeit any content.  But views diverged sharply on whether this should be done by abandoning the first year of courses if they didn’t count towards final grades, with 54% for the idea and 46% against.

(The pros and cons of the first year continues to stimulate debate.  While dropping it could save students money – plus time spent on work that doesn’t contribute in the final analysis – many universities maintain it’s still vitally important for establishing the transition from A-level to degree-standard achievement.)

The survey also highlighted students’ astute awareness of the current job market.  Seven out of ten think placement years should be compulsory for all subjects, reflecting the fact that many recruiters now actively seek applicants with work experience as well as good grades.

And the importance of having a degree hasn’t been overlooked, with more than half of respondents believing they wouldn’t have progressed in their careers any faster had they gone straight into employment instead of attending university.

Milkround spokesperson Abbie Baisden commented: “Students value the university experience as a whole, but resent the rise in costs.  Their rejection of living at home while studying, and insistence on more courses to include placements, proves they want their university experience to provide them with more than knowledge on the subject they studied.  They expect life skills and experience that will benefit them in their career and beyond – especially with the rise in study costs.”

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Share this article

Any questions? Any comments?

Your instant reactions to this article can be posted here. Use your own name or a nom de plume.

(Showing 1 - 1 of 1)

Anonymous Date: Apr 27, 2012

This reads more like a PR exercise than a piece of thorough research. Exactly how many students and what backgrounds? 'Over 100' means not very many - especialy when there are over 140 over degree awarding institutions. So c80 students or ex-students thought fees would have a negative impact; c35 wouldn't stay at home; c31 students favoured a two-year course etcetera etcetera, We know for a fact that when the gap-year blip and demographic changes are factored in UCAS applications held firm this year; We know for a fact that other countries with high tuition fees still have high participation rates and we know for a fact that graduates earn more than non-graduates through their careers. Spurious surveys will not help us understand the impact of tuition fees.

Please log in to make a comment

Already registered?

Haven't registered?

Register for FREE - it only takes a couple of minutes

Not registered? Click here.

Students predict fall in university applications