Number of UK Students Choosing Local Universities Increases Due to Pandemic

United Kingdom Europe COVID-19 by Erudera News Jan 04, 2021

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23 per cent of final-year pupils planning to attend a university in the United Kingdom indicated they want to study nearer home, according to a survey involving over 20,000 pupils conducted by Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), a UK-based organization focused on application processes for British universities.

The number of pupils applying to local universities in the United Kingdom has increased more than ever before. The latter are fearful that the pandemic could affect them during the next academic year as well, Erudera reports.

Pupils at the age of 13 are completing their applications before the January 15 deadline, as after this deadline, the universities will not consider all applications equally.

“Traditionally, we had a boarding school system of higher education. You absolutely did not consider your local university. But we see a lot now want to stay local,” saidSarah Barr Miller, theHead of Insight at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cumbria, Rob Trimble, emphasized that he had already noticed a 10.5 per cent increase in demands this year, with a significant increase in applications for vocational courses including;

  • nursing
  • medical sciences
  • teaching
  • business

Another survey involving 1,200 pupils at the age of 12-13, carried out by the Access HE, which is a social mobility charity in London, has revealed that 30 per cent of pupils claimed that the pandemic has affected their decision regarding university.

According to survey findings, 42 per cent of pupils on free school meals stated they are planning to pursue studies at a local university compared to 30 per cent of their better-off peers.

“We’ve seen a further increase in students wanting to go to good quality local universities,” the Principal of East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston-on-Sea, Catherine Richards said.

Following this, the Head of Access HE Graeme Atherton said that youngsters’ choices could be limited if they only focus on local universities.

According to him, although it is promising that the number of young people from “across income groups” wanting to go to universities has increased, yet every youngster must have the chance to attend a university which suits them in the best way. 

In addition, experts are predicting more competition than ever as the number of pupils applying for a university place has increased. 

Barr Miller stated that despite a slight decrease in the number of 18-year-olds in Britain, the UCAS was expecting a 5 per cent rise in applications this year.

However, according to her, the expected decline in the number of applications from EU students who after Brexit will have to pay higher fees, could free some spaces for UK students.

In July, figures by UCAS showed that despite restrictions imposed in the United Kingdom to curtail the spread of Coronavirus, the number of international admissions at universities across the country had increased.

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