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Reviewing the past week's higher education news, Rachel Hewitt, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute, takes issue with claims that UK higher education is "broken" and sees encouraging signs that it is addressing issues over diversity.
Professor Malcolm Todd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Provost (academic and student experience) at the University of Derby, comments on what he sees as the most significant higher education news and opinions making headlines in the first week of 2020.
Domicile of applicant
EU (excluding UK)
There has been a 1 per cent year-on-year increase in applications to UK university medical, dentistry and veterinary schools and to Oxbridge, early data from UCAS has shown.
The admissions body has released figures on applications made by 15 October – the deadline for most medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses as well as for Oxford and Cambridge universities.
There was a 1 per cent fall in total applicants from the UK – down from 38,720 in 2015 to 38,330, although the number of total applicants rose from 56,360 to 56,630. But this was more than compensated for by a big rise in applications from overseas – an 8 per cent increase from the European Union (from 6,340 at this point in 2015 to 6,860) and a 1 per cent increase from outside the EU (from 11,310 to 11,440).
Applications from England fell by 1 per cent, those from Wales by 2 per cent and those from Northern Ireland by 3 per cent, while there was no change from Scotland.
There were 20,100 applications for medicine – a similar number to last year; 14,820 are from the UK.
According to UCAS, there was a marked fall in those re-applying and a 1 per cent rise in applications from British 18-year-olds at a time when the population of that age-group has shrunk by 2 per cent “indicating that application rates have risen”.
Chief Executive of UCAS, Mary Curnock-Cook, said applications were similar to last year, but the true picture would not emerge until the main deadline in January.
"October deadline courses are attracting more overseas applicants each year with a notable increase this year in demand from EU applicants,” she said.
She added that “high demand for applicants with top grades” last year meant fewer had needed to re-apply.
Applicants for courses with 15 October deadline by domicile group
First time applicants for courses with 15 October deadline by domicile group
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