Applications to go to university in the UK this autumn are down by 11,000 on last year despite a surge in interest from overseas students, according to figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) writes Guardian Education
The overall decline of 2% is explained largely by the fact there are fewer 18-year-olds in the population available to go to university. However, there has also been a sharp drop in the number of older students applying to go to university, in particular to study nursing, which has seen a 10% decline in applications on last year.
In response, Ucas urged the government to focus on the needs of mature students in its review of post-18 education and funding in England, which was announced by the prime minister in February amid growing anxiety about some graduates facing large debts and poor outcomes.
The figures herald another competitive season in the higher education sector as lower and middle-ranking institutions in particular battle it out to attract students to fill places. Applications for nursing courses plummeted after a switch from NHS bursaries to tuition fees, prompting concerns about hospital recruitment.