Commenting on today’s UCAS applicant statistics, Amanda Wilkinson, Director of Higher Education Wales, said:
“Taking into account that there are still seven weeks before the 15 January UCAS deadline for applications, we would hold back on drawing any final conclusions about the impact of today’s figures on Higher Education in Wales at this stage in the recruitment cycle.
“The figures show that applicant numbers are currently down, not only in Wales, but also in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This may indeed indicate a return to the level of applications witnessed in 2010 following a record demand for applications in 2011.
“The figures may be attributed to a combination of factors; social, economic and environmental but may also be indicative of the fact that Welsh students are taking more time to research and consider the options available to them in light of the new funding structure. This has been clearly reflected by a significant increase in the number of enquiries received by Welsh Government’s Student Finance Wales’ contact centre.
“Given the extent to which applications have exceeded the number of acceptances in the past we would not anticipate, on the basis of these figures however, that the final number of students gaining place at universities in Wales to fall”.