Commenting on UCAS’ 15 January deadline data release, University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said:
“While it is positive to see a continued rise in application rates from disadvantaged students, this release highlights a number of areas of concern. Universities play a crucial role in training the health workforce of the future and the stark fall in numbers applying to study nursing – following changes announced in the 2015 spending review – will raise questions about whether we are training all the nurses we need. This needs to be monitored very carefully.
“We’ve also seen significant falls in the number of EU applicants, underlining the need for certainty for EU students as Britain withdraws from the European Union. EU students make a huge contribution to the vibrancy of our academic communities and provide UK students with the opportunity to study alongside people from other cultures. This helps build social capital and employability skills.
“The government’s Industrial Strategy rightly emphasises the importance of opportunities for those already in the workforce to retrain and upskill throughout their career. The drop in mature students illustrates the scale of the challenge in delivering this – later this month, University Alliance will be publishing new proposals to support lifelong learning.”