UK university applications fall

The number of UK students hoping to go to university in September has fallen by nearly 9% compared to 2011, the steepest fall for 30 years.

David Willetts, the Universities minister, acknowledged yesterday that the introduction of higher fees has deterred significant numbers of students.

The provisional figures published by UCAS in November showed that the number of students who applied for places at UK universities was 158,387, down 23,427 compared to the same point a year earlier.

Overall, applications are expected to be down by between 7-8%, when overseas students are included.

2011 was the last year for which tuition fees were capped at £3,000. This year that cap moves up to £9,000.

Most universities and colleges are expected to try to charge up to or close to the new limit next year. But some experts predict fees will fall for 2013 as demand drops off, particularly for less prestigious courses.

It is thought that there will be a boost in the number of pre-university students taking gap years in 2012 due to the rise in tuition fees and these UCAS figures certainly add weight to the theory.

Are you thinking of taking a gap year instead of going to university? What do you think of the tuition fee reforms?

For those of you thinking of a gap year then read this case study on an unplanned gap year. It's pretty inspiring.