Universities Wales responded today to the latest figures for full-time undergraduate applications for the 2017 UCAS cycle.
The release shows total applications to Wales fell by 6% in 2017 cycle by 30 June 2017, the deadline for all applications via the main application scheme before Clearing. In particular, the reduction in non-EU applications was notable with a drop of 5%.
Responding to the publication of the figures, Amanda Wilkinson, Director of Universities Wales said:
“Although the overall application picture for Wales has improved slightly since the January 2017 deadline, there are still issues to address and it is unclear at this stage how far the recruitment pattern will change during Clearing before the end of the cycle, or how far this will translate into actual enrolments at the start of term. A reduction in applications does not automatically mean a reduction in actual enrolments. However, the figures across the UK point to a number of potential challenges emerging such as underlying population change – in particular the number of 18 year olds in Wales is projected to continue to decline significantly until 2020 – and the impact of Brexit.
“It will be important to continue to stress the benefits of study in Wales throughout the cycle. Overall student satisfaction at universities in Wales hit its highest-ever level this year, with 86% of students saying they are satisfied with their course. These results are testament to the hard work Wales’s universities continue to put in to delivering the best possible student learning experience for all Wales’s students, no matter their mode, place or pace of study.”
“These figures also suggest that more action is needed to address the gap in participation rates between Welsh students, which fell from 32.9% to 32.5% in 2017 and English students, which increased to the highest level on record in 2017 of 37.9%. The proposed package of maintenance support announced by the Welsh Government this week for students starting in 18/19 will give students from Wales the most progressive, generous package of maintenance support in the UK, and give many more talented people the opportunity to transform their life-chances through going to university. We must do everything we can to ensure this is fully and widely understood.”