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UCU Scotland says decline in applicants cause for concern

25 April 2007

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UCU Scotland today warned that the decline in the number of applicants from Scotland is a cause of concern, after reviewing university application figures released today by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

For the second year running the number of Scottish domiciled applicants to higher education has declined. Last year this decline led to a drop in the number of students in higher education with some institutions fined for under recruitment.

The figures also show a significant increase in applications from students over 21 years of age, many of whom may be classified as mature students if they have been in employment or claimed benefits for three years. Such students would be exempt from the graduate endowment and able to claim an increased bursary.  

Alastair Hunter UCU Scotland President said: 'We need to do more to encourage Scots to apply for higher education, as simply lifting the caps on recruitment will not work if the pool of applicants is diminishing. This is not only about the viability of our universities but also the future of a smart successful Scotland.

'It also seems that potential students are delaying entry to higher education to avoid debt and the graduate endowment, as those applying at 21 years or over has increased for the second year in a succession.

'Despite the hysteria, the mass influx of English students is again unlikely due to the modest increase in English students applying to Scottish institutions.'

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