CVCP calls for 20,000 more students by year 2000

March 17, 1995

An extra 20,000 students a year will have to enter higher education to meet the long-standing Government target of a one in three 18 to 21-year-old participation rate by the end of the century.

The figure comes from statisticians the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, which this week issued a briefing in support of its call for renewed expansion of student numbers. Growth has been pegged for the past two years.

The 1995/96 participation rate is expected to be 30.6 per cent, up from 14.5 per cent in 1987/88, and Government plans call for intakes to be frozen until 1997/98.

The CVCP notes that the 18 to 21 age group will grow in the late 1990s, meaning that numbers will have to be increased if participation targets are to be met.

It calls for the Government to aim for the 40 per cent rate already advocated by the Confederation of British Industry. This would mean an extra 90,000 students per year.

Ken Edwards, chairman of CVCP, said: "Demand for higher education is rising. Employers want more graduates. Soon there will be more school-leavers in the population and more will have qualifications for university admission."

He added that expansion was conditional on increased funding. The briefing says that funding per student has fallen 25 per cent in real terms since 1989/90 and is projected to fall a further 9 per cent in the next three years. Professor Edwards said: "More investment is needed now from public and other sources.."

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