Drop in applications reinforces need for clarity, says 1994 Group of universities

The 1994 Group of leading universities has responded to the news that university applications have fallen by 7.4%.

Professor Michael Farthing, 1994 Group Chairman and Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex said: 

“The cuts to university funding gave universities little option other than to increase fees and as a result many prospective students have obviously been wary of applying this year. The 1994 Group believes that the system of loans and income contingent graduate repayments ensures that there are no up-front financial barriers to higher education. While much good work has been done, it is clear that this message needs to be more widely understood

 “The fact remains that going to university is an excellent investment. 1994 Group universities have been working hard to reassure prospective students of the excellent experiences and career enhancing degrees on offer. The fact that our institutions have not seen dramatic drops in applications is testament to these efforts. 

“However, the uncertainty caused by the Government’s haphazard approach to reform has not helped. The most telling example of this is the fact that so many universities were forced to renegotiate their fees and financial support arrangements as a result of the Government’s muddled plans to relax student number controls. Ring-fencing places for cut price courses and uncapping places for AAB+ students halfway through the recruitment cycle created confusion which could have been avoided.” 

“The Government has to act to make sure that this year’s fall in applications is not repeated. As an absolute priority we need to see evidence of a long term plan to open up places for bright students beyond the AAB category. “





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Notes to Editors:

1.    The 1994 Group represents 19 of the UK’s leading student-focused research-intensive universities. It was established in 1994 to promote excellence in University research and teaching.

2.  12 of the top 20 universities in the Guardian University Guide 2012 league tables are 1994 Group members. 8 of the top 20 universities in the 2012 Sunday Times University League Table are 1994 Group members. 9 of the top 20 universities in the 2012 Complete University Guide are 1994 Group members.


3.  In 17 major subject areas 1994 Group universities are the UK leaders, achieving 1st place in their field (THE RAE subject rankings 2008). 57% of the 1994 Group's research is rated 4* 'world-leading' or 3* 'internationally excellent' (RAE 2008, HEFCE).

4.    The 1994 Group represents: University of Bath, Birkbeck University of London, Durham University, University of East Anglia, University of Essex, University of Exeter, Goldsmiths University of London, Institute of Education University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Lancaster University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, Queen Mary University of London, University of Reading, University of St Andrews, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Surrey, University of Sussex, University of York.

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