Many have started out their university adventure this year, something that might sound like a lot of fun. With the rise of the tuition fees to up to £9,000 and the economic crisis still holding strong, the student experience might be slightly different this year.
The BBC student finance calculator shows that university degree now translates to an average debt estimated at up to £36,000 over 26 years. Half of all freshers are expected to be working part-time to help fund their courses, a survey by Endsleigh Insurance has revealed. So let’s have a look at the stats showing what happened this year.
The Guardian reported that the tuition fees rise has led to a significant drop in the number of English students. According to the Independent Commission on Fees, there are more than 15,000 “missing” applicants who wanted to pursue a degree at university but didn’t have the financial stability to do so. The number equals to an 8.8% decrease in the demand in England itself, compared to the 2010 numbers. The Daily Mail goes on to publish a list of top universities that have seen a significant drop in applications.
Some students have already decided to take on something different instead. The Independent published an article showing how students changed their preferences in degree choices. Students seem to be now more job-conscious and choose the courses that will bring them the job right after graduation. For example, Cambridge University has a 3% rise in applications from the state-school sector this year. After analysing them closely, it showed that students preferred to go for Science or Engineering degrees rather than humanities, which have suffered a drop in applications.
Another tempting option for students is to study abroad. Traditionally, the British have been stay-at-homes. The Independent reports that last year, the UK received 22,650 foreign students under the Erasmus exchange scheme, while sending abroad only 11,723. Now, however, seems like the the situation is going to change course. There have been some signs of a surge in UK students applying overseas.The BBC says Maastricht University in the Netherlands, where fees are £1,500 per year, is forecasting to receive 600 applications from UK students during the current admissions cycle.
A Unesco report also shows more than 8,700 British students already studying in the United States. Another BBC article reports that within four years, a quarter of sixth formers at a leading UK independent school will be heading for universities in the United States. This is a prediction made by one of UK’s most prominent head teachers, Anthony Seldon, head of Wellington College in Berkshire. Seldon claims that ambitious teenagers are looking further afield than ever before in their university choices. He adds that the appeal of well-funded US universities, with more broad-based course options, is proving increasingly attractive to youngsters in the UK.
Are you aged 16-24 and out of education? If you didn’t go to university this year because of the tuition fees rise, leave a comment with your views below.
By Tatiana Darie
Picture © Stuart Pilbrow