1994 Group statement on UCAS 2013/14 data

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

“The 1994 Group is pleased to see a rise in applications to UK universities of 3.5% for 2013/14. This is positive news and demonstrates that higher education is still an excellent investment which offers graduates increased prospects of getting a job and a higher salary. It shows that the message that university is still affordable with the new loans system is beginning to be understood.

“We are particularly encouraged to see that more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are applying to university. 1994 Group universities have worked tirelessly to ensure that university is open to all and invested heavily in outreach activities to target these students. Applications by 18 year-olds in England from disadvantaged backgrounds have increased by almost 9% since 2004.

“However, further progress on widening participation will only be achievable if universities are given access to national databases to be able to track interactions with students through school and college, enabling them to benchmark the effectiveness of different outreach schemes.

“The UCAS figures also reveal cause for concern in the decline in students wishing to study languages. Students applying to study European languages are down by 6.1% and non-European languages have dropped by 6.7%.”

Professor Paul Webley, Director, SOAS, University of London, said:

"Our universities need to produce global citizens whose knowledge encompasses societies, cultures and languages beyond the UK. This is important for the diplomatic, business and economic interests of the country.

“Linguistic ability enables individuals to develop intercultural understanding and sensitivity which benefits not just the individual but UK society as a whole. The drop in number of applications in students studying languages – on top of recent year-on-year decreases – is becoming ever more alarming.”

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Notes to Editors

1. Last year the 1994 Group responded to Ofqual's consultation on A-level reform. We have now published the full response online.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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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