£9,000 fees putting a gender gap in education
A generation of boys is turning its back on university in the wake of the rise in tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year, according to UK figures released today.
Final figures for this year’s university intake, published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), show a 54,000 slump – 13 per cent down on the previous year (higher than earlier predictions).
A breakdown showed that the gender gap in entrants had reached an all-time high with the fall in the entry rate being four times higher for men than women.
Overall, it has meant that 18-year-old women straight out of school are 34 per cent more likely to apply to go on to higher education than men. The difference in application rates is 10.1 percentage points with 40.1 per cent of women applying compared to just 30 per cent of men.
Today’s report shows for the first time that women are more likely to enter higher education than men are to apply.
Overall drop in university applications
Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s higher education spokeswoman, described the drop in overall numbers as “a massive blow for people and communities across the UK”.
She said the rise in fees “has put a brake on aspiration and has led people considering applying to university to decide against doing so at precisely the time that higher level skills have never been more important to secure their future”.
Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the university think-tank million+. added: “There is no getting away from the stark truth that numbers of full-time students are down and the evidence collated so far for 2013 suggests the downward trend is continuing.”
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