Increase in university applications for 2009

09 July 2009

Responding to the publication of UCAS application data for 2009, which shows a continued rise in the number of applicants to university, Director General of The Russell Group of Universities, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“The Russell Group welcomes data released by UCAS and the Sutton Trust which indicates more people than ever are applying, or thinking about applying, to university. Figures from UCAS show a significant increase (9.7%) in undergraduate applications from this point last year and represent the third straight year of growth in the number of applicants.

“Academic attainment is by far and away the most important factor in whether a student will go on to higher education. When A-level grades are taken into account, students from deprived and wealthy backgrounds are equally likely to go to university. So it is not surprising that under the new system of fees, loans and grants, applications to English universities have continued to increase (up 9.8%).

“Unfortunately the sudden clampdown on student numbers this year means it is likely that Russell Group universities may have to make fewer offers in heavily over-subscribed courses and students who just miss out on their grades are probably less likely to be accepted than in previous years.

“However, it is essential that any potential increase in student numbers is funded in a sustainable way that will not create difficulties for UK universities in the longer term.  For example, if the amount of funding per student was cut, or money was diverted from another area of core funding, it would inevitably sacrifice the quality of the student experience and, as a result, the world-class reputation of UK higher education.”

Notes to editors

  1. UCAS application figures for 2009 university entry, as of 30th June, are available from here:
  2. A Ipsos MORI poll released today by The Sutton Trust shows 77% of young people in state schools, aged 11-16, say they are ‘fairly likely’ or ‘very likely’ to enter university. This is an increase on last year’s figure (73%) and the highest proportion since the poll was started seven years ago.

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