ACCORDING to statistics from the UK’s university admissions service, UCAS, the number of young people who are applying for places at universities across the country, has fallen by 25,000, which equates to 4%.
NHS Bursaries Axed
As from August 1st trainee nurses and midwives will no longer be eligible to receive bursaries on behalf of the NHS. As an alternative they will have the opportunity to use the same student loan system as other students. England and Wales have both seen a 5% drop in those who apply for university. In fact all four UK nations have suffered a decrease in the last year.
The only positive to come out of the last 12 months is the fact that the number of international students who have applied to study at British universities has risen slightly by 2%, but now the outcome of the Brexit process may have a huge impact on whether this figure will suffer more in the weeks and months that follow.
Sarah Stevens, head of policy at the Russell Group, said it would be a concern if EU students were being put off by the uncertainties of Brexit.
"It's positive that applications from overseas students outside the EU have risen slightly," he said.
"International students bring social and cultural diversity to our campuses and this benefits all students, and they contribute £25.8bn to the UK economy."
Tuition Fees Rise
The facts that tuition fees for students in England have increased to £9,250 and interest rates on student loans are expected to jump to 6.1% by August have almost certainly contributed to the fact that more people are now being put off of the idea of going to university.
University bosses have admitted that there are lots of potential facts that would explain this particular decline, including Brexit and the increasing cost of studying, and changes to the way that funding is distributed. In terms of students it seems that those studying nursing, midwifery, and the majority of other health courses will be hit the hardest in the coming weeks.
Government Must Help
The decline in student numbers is a massive concern but the Government has a duty to help students and young people in education as much as they can.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education echoed this view by saying: “The government is committed to supporting all young people to reach their full potential - whether that is going to university, starting an apprenticeship or taking up a technical qualification."