Statement from the 1994 Group on UCAS data for 2012

Alex Bols, Executive Director of the 1994 Group, said:

"Today's UCAS figures confirm that there was a significant drop in the number of students going to university in 2012.

"In the first year of any new system there is likely to be one-off fluctuations. For example, fewer students took gap years in 2011 to avoid the changes, and other students might not have understood the new system yet.

"But, the 1994 Group are concerned that early indications of the 2013 entry data suggest a further dip.

Explain the new student fees system:

"If the drop in applications continues this year, it is imperative that we act quickly to find out why. It might be that students don't understand the new loans repayment system and are being put off by the large 'debt'. If this is the case, we would call on the Government to launch a high-profile campaign to better explain the system.

"Higher education is still an excellent investment—it offers graduates increased prospects of getting a job and a higher salary—and the repayment system ensures that it is affordable. We must ensure that students are not put off applying to university through confusion and misinformation."

Remove restrictions on student recruitment:

"The 1994 Group is particularly concerned that there was a 14% fall in applications from students with AAB+ A-level grades. Regulation allows universities to recruit as many of these students as they like.

"The fall in AAB+ students left many unfilled spaces at leading universities, which couldn’t be filled by other great students because of recruitment restrictions.

"This issue, paired with concerns over international and postgraduate recruitment, is having a destabilising effect on our best universities. Restrictive student number controls prevent leading universities from having the flexibility to recruit great students. It is for that reason that we call on the Government to swiftly uncap recruitment on students who get BBB+ in their A-levels."

Protect EU student applications for long-term economic success:

"Finally, there has been a 20% fall in the number of applications from EU students to English universities. Deterring outstanding European students will inevitably have an impact on the intellectual and cultural diversity of our campuses and our economy.

"We must not forget that the UK does half of its trade with Europe and so attracting EU students to our universities plays a key role in building those crucial long-term trading links upon which the UK relies."


Correction: Previously, we wrote that there had been a 20% drop in applications to UK universities. This should have been English universities. This has now been corrected.

Media Contact:

Sally Pickering

0207 664 4844


Notes to Editors

1. The 1994 Group represents 11 leading smaller universities. It was founded to promote excellence in research and teaching. According to the most recent assessments, 88% of its members’ research is internationally recognised (RAE 2008) and 88% of its members’ students were satisfied with their university experiences (NSS 2012). In 2011, its members added £1.7bn to the UK economy, fulfilled over 1800 research contracts for business, and held stakes in 34 spin-out companies.

2. 6 of the top 30 universities in the Guardian University Guide 2013 are 1994 Group members; 7 of the top 30 universities in the Complete University Guide 2012 are 1994 Group members; 11 of the UK’s top-ranked research departments are in 1994 members, and all its members have a top-3 rated department for research excellence.

3. The 1994 Group represents Birkbeck, University of London; the University of East Anglia; the University of Essex; Goldsmiths, University of London; the Institute of Education, University of London; Royal Holloway, University of London; Lancaster University; the University of Leicester; Loughborough University; the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the University of Sussex.

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