Students swap the campus for home

July 21, 2000

Increasing numbers of students are studying locally or taking a year out to raise the money to support themselves through university, according to figures released today.

One in six students starting a full-time course this autumn will stay at home, according to data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. This is up 2.3 per cent on last year.

One in 14 students will take a year out, the figures show. The number of people applying for a gap year has increased by 2.5 per cent.

Tony Higgins, chief executive of Ucas, said: "There are greater financial pressures on students, which means some will cut their costs by staying at home while studying.

"The increase in deferred-entry applications also shows that more people are taking a year out, either to travel, to gain work experience or to earn money to help towards their costs at university or college."

Overall, the number of people who had applied for a university or college place by June 30 is down 0.4 per cent on the previous year. The fall sits uncomfortably alongside the expansion in the number of college places.

But Dr Higgins said he was confident that numbers would recover by the end of summer.

Mature students continue to be deterred by the new funding arrangements for full-time higher education. The number of applicants aged over 21 is down 1.3 per cent on last year. The fall was greater - some 2.1 per cent - in the group aged over 25.

The number of school-leavers applying was down by 0.2 per cent - but the total in this age cohort is also down.

The number of overseas applicants also fell by 1.9 per cent on last year.

Scottish institutions, meanwhile, have received a boost in applications from students based in Scotland, following the abolition of tuition fees for them. The number of applicants is up by 2.1 per cent.

Subjects increasing in popularity include media studies (up 18.5 per cent), joint courses in mathematics and computing (up 17.3 per cent) and nursing (up 14.4 per cent).

Subjects falling from favour include joint courses in languages (down 8.7 per cent), mechanical engineering (down 8.4 per cent) and social work (down 8.0 per cent).

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