Uclan data point to falling student recruitment

Internal papers show 3 per cent decline in firm acceptances for University of Central Lancashire

October 24, 2013

Internal university data seen by Times Higher Education have revealed the first named case of an English institution anticipating a decline in recruitment for 2013-14.

The University of Central Lancashire was on course for fewer undergraduate recruits this year, despite a rise in admissions nationally.

Uclan’s number of home and European Union firm acceptances – revealed in internal papers seen by THE – declined by 3 per cent from 3,375 in 2012-13 to 3,4 this year, according to a university analysis on 28 June.

Nationally, firm acceptances were 5 per cent up on the previous year at that point in the admissions cycle.

The final figure for acceptances across the UK was 9 per cent higher than the previous year, according to Ucas. THE asked Uclan for a final recruitment figure but the university did not provide one. The leaked document also shows that applications to Uclan fell by 5 per cent.

In England, expansion in enrolment at several universities under the coalition’s uncapped system for applicants with ABB at A level or the equivalent suggests that other institutions may have suffered a second consecutive year of falling undergraduate numbers in a vastly more competitive recruitment environment. The University of Exeter, for example, increased its undergraduate intake by 600 students this year, considerably reducing the pool of applicants for other institutions.

Graham Baldwin, Uclan’s deputy vice-chancellor, said his institution had “continued its focus on delivering a high-quality student experience and maintaining and improving its academic learning environment”.

He added: “For 2013-14, our overall enrolments are comfortably within our resource planning target, enabling us to continue our investment plans in new areas of course development and research.” 

The university papers also disclose that Uclan’s Cyprus campus – criticised by Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, after it was built in the buffer zone between the island’s Greek and Turkish communities – has received just 68 applications from home and EU undergraduates this year.

It has also received just three postgraduate applications.

Uclan has previously said that student numbers at the campus, which opened in October 2012, are envisaged to grow “towards 5,000” within five years.

Dr Baldwin said that the Cyprus campus “is proving successful, having opened on time and on budget. With our new course developments we are on target to reach our enrolment projections.”

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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