New title brings boom in students

August 18, 2006

England's newest universities look set for a bumper recruitment year in which they will buck the downward trend in applications nationally, according to new figures.

Nine of the 12 institutions that have gained a university title since last year have received more applications to date this year compared with 2005.

So far, applications for places at the "new new" universities are up by more than 4 per cent overall, compared with a 4 per cent decline in applications nationally.

Final recruitment figures will be available only after clearing, but new universities seem to have largely escaped the top-up fee effect that was blamed for last year's applications peak followed by this year's dip nationally.

The biggest winner in the applications round so far is Bolton University, where applications are up 40 per cent compared with last year.

Karyn Brinkley, the institution's pro vice-chancellor, said: "Gaining the university title has been really significant for us."

She added: "People previously did not really know what Bolton Institute was, but they know immediately what a university is."

Bill Chambers, Liverpool Hope University's dean of arts and humanities, said that the 11.4 per cent increase in applications at his university has been due to a combination of gaining university status and a rebranding of the institution as the "only ecumenical university in Europe".

Worcester University has had its best applications round ever, with an increase of 10.9 per cent on last year. Chester University has seen an 8.5 per cent rise in applications.

But applications at Southampton Solent University are down 9.8 per cent on the same time last year.

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