Top-up fees fail to deter pupils

October 28, 2005

The prospect of paying £3,000 in tuition fees a year has had no impact on the number of applicants vying for a place at Cambridge University, The Times Higher has learnt.

Cambridge's latest figures reveal that 13,5 applications have been received for 2006 entry - three more than at the same point last year.

The figures do not include data on the social backgrounds of applicants, which would indicate whether Cambridge's £3,000 bursary scheme has attracted more working-class applicants.

While the number of applicants to study medicine has increased by 7.8 per cent, architecture by 11.5 per cent and modern and medieval languages by 15.6 per cent, the number of applications to study English has fallen by 8.3 per cent, music by 22.9 per cent and history by 11.4 per cent.

Geoff Parks, director of admissions for the Cambridge colleges, said:

"There has been an increase in applications for places to read subjects such as medicine and architecture, for which we have a fixed number of places."

Last week, Sir Howard Newby, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said that applications were likely to fall in 2006 after this years' rush to beat fees.

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