* University and college applications were marginally down by the deadline of December 15, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service confirmed this week. Applications for 1996 entry dipped by 1.6 per cent and the number of home applicants was 2 per cent lower than last year, writes Alison Utley.
However the number of applicants under 19 was 3.6 per cent up, a rise attributed by UCAS to the GNVQs opening up as new route.
"If previous experience is anything to go by there will be a further 70-80,000 applicants by the beginning of the 1996/97 academic year and this minor shortfall could well be reversed by then," said Tony Higgins, chief executive of UCAS.
University departments such as maths and the sciences are already struggling to fill places. The figures show reductions of about 10 per cent in biochemistry; environmental science; civil engineering; psychology; and humanities with arts. Subjects such as media studies showed even more serious declines in applications, down by more than 38 per cent, and institutional management fared worst of all compared to last year with a reduction of 42.5 per cent but these are due to reclassification.
Medicine by contrast received 25 per cent more applicants and marketing, dentistry and drama all enjoyed rises of more than one fifth.