Government policy behind student numbers decline?

‘The Government’s repeated attacks on higher education have resulted in a “dramatic fall” in students numbers, the National Union of Students (NUS) has said.

According to the student campaigner, figures* in England have shown the number of those heading to university have plummeted from six million in the 2012/13 academic year, to 5.2 million in 2014/15.

Describing the statistics as “hugely concerning,” the NUS said the decline has come about because tuition fees have tripled, the student loan repayment threshold has been changed retrospectively, and the disabled students’ allowance has been slashed.

The NUS’s call has come just a day before Times Higher Education’s (THE) European University Rankings have shown that, despite the UK coming out on top as having the most top institutions on the continent, other countries - particularly Germany - are beginning to catch up as students opt to study elsewhere.

Editor of the rankings, Phil Baty, said: “Not only are our restrictive immigration policies and noisy rhetoric leading many students to perceive they are not welcome in the UK, we are also seeing the increasing popularity of European universities which are often just as highly ranked as their UK competitors but also much, much cheaper to study with.’ - Independent

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has published results of a Chartered Management Institute survey, indicating that many parents would now prefer their children to do an Apprenticeship than go to a top university.

‘Half of those questioned felt a degree-level apprenticeship would give their child a better chance of getting a good job than if they went to university, with parents who were university-educated themselves most likely to agree. The same parents were more likely to say that a degree-level apprenticeship provided better value for money than a traditional degree, compared to two in five of all parents.

Two-fifths said they would encourage their child to apply for an apprenticeship rather than go to university, according to the poll of 1,000 parents commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: ‘As student costs rise and employment prospects fall, it’s hardly surprising parents would rather pick a guaranteed professional career over an Oxbridge degree for their children. Savvy parents are recognising the importance of their children getting their foot on the career ladder at an early age.’’- Daily Mail

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