It’s that time of the year again when the UCAS process begins for many students applying for University, but how could this affect the number of applicants? With entry levels for universities said to be on the up, this could already suggest a large amount of students not getting accepted for 2011. A UCAS level of at least 300 points seems to be the required amount for Universities in England, which is worrying for one college student currently in this process: “I feel this is just one more thing to worry about whilst I am applying and am feeling the strain. I am going to have to cross that bridge when I come to if I don’t initially get enough points”.
As well as higher requirements, the Government are in talks to put in place larger fees for students. They currently have to pay over £3,000 per year, and this could rise to as much as £6,000, meaning students could come out of University with debts of up to £36,000. If the plans go ahead, this could see the likes of students that just go to University for ‘The Student lifestyle’ be a thing of the past, but Universities could be the real sufferers. These fees may have a huge impact on the number of students applying, due to them not being able to afford it. This could result in the loss of jobs and in future years the possible closure of some Universities. One first year student at The University of Portsmouth commented: “My dad has had to save for years in order to fund my first year here and if these fees rise I may have to drop out as I am stuck in Catch 22. My Dad wouldn’t be able to help me out financially but if I were to get a loan for the rest of my time here, I would be in huge amounts of debt. I have a weekend job too and live at home in order to come out of university as debt free as possible. We are getting penalised for wanting to get something out of life”.
Higher interest for students currently paying back their student loans is also on the Governments agenda. The current £15,000 that you have to earn in your job before you start paying the debt back is also set to rise to £20,000. This could mean that although you can get a lower salary before paying your loan back, the increased amount of interest could make matters worse.
In recent years Universities have made a name for themselves, with some applicants only applying for the ‘Freshers week’ as well as club scene. Some students have been seen drinking so much that they have passed out on the streets of Manchester and Leeds, (obvious choices to apply to if you want a great nightlife). The Governments’ plans could potentially stop students applying only for these reasons, but this could backfire drastically if those less financially fortunate are unable to apply. One second year student at The University of Winchester comments: “Gone are the days when furthering your education at a University was seen as prestigious. It seems as if now a lot of students are simply here for the lifestyle and have lazy attitudes to go with it. It’s a real shame”.