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British universities see record admissions despite epidemic

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According to preliminary figures, UK universities are heading for “every year” of new admissions, ignoring warnings of a recession caused by the coronavirus.

Data from the University and College Admissions Service, analyzed by consulting firm DataHE, showed that 508,090 applicants were accepted to universities across the UK after 22 days of A-level results. This is a 3.5% increase over the same period in 2019.

This figure pushed ahead for a record year in areas where hospitalizations were feared to drop sharply as a result of the epidemic. However, experts warn that the final figures are uncertain and universities are still facing months of volatility.

The increase in admission is partly due to the continued enthusiasm of international students to study in the UK. Despite warnings that the epidemic will reduce demand, international recruitment has increased by 1.7% so far this year to 71,400.

However, the main reason for the higher figure is that the A-level soared after the government announced its 11-hour U-turn results last month. Presented by the teacher.

This led to lower government caps on the number of students at top universities, resulting in a higher than usual percentage of school graduates with required grades for college, and the number of 18-year-olds entering higher education increased by five per person. Cents versus 2019.

Mary Curnock Cook, former CEO of UCAS, said, “Universities have done a great job in responding to the fallout from the exam crisis this summer, and this segment has remained an unexpected level of recruitment.

But boosts made winners and losers. The enrollment rates of top-ranked universities increased by 11% compared to 2019, while those of middle-level educational institutions increased by 1%. In lower-tier institutions, there is little change in the application number.

Andrew Hargreaves, co-founder of DateHE, said, “Because centrally-rated grades increased overall performance, the currency value of qualifications fell, pushing everything into the system.

Hargreaves adds that this has left a “deficit” of students in lower education institutions, and in some institutions the potential student pool has been reduced by 50%.

At the London Metropolitan University, about 200 students “self-released” from where they were accepted after teacher evaluation scores were accepted. That’s about 50% more than normal.

“A lot has changed,” said Gary Davies, Vice President of Student Recruitment.

London Met’s diverse admissions, including a high percentage of mature and graduate students, have helped keep track of our recruitment goals this year. But Davis said other universities are facing significant shortages. “There’s definitely a squeezed middle,” he said.

Meanwhile, highly competitive universities are struggling to accommodate an unexpectedly large number of students. “What you have this week is to figure out exactly what our demands for the staff and other courses in the crazy scramble, how much accommodation we need, the ability for extracurricular activities, etc. To prepare.” Erik Lithander, Vice President of Global Engagement at Bristol University.

Considering the start of January, graduate students and students who change their minds, we may not be able to figure out the whole situation until next March.

One of the UK’s most popular universities, Bristol has admitted hundreds of students more than usual since the A-level grades were announced. The increase is manageable, but it will be logically difficult given social distancing requirements, Dr Lithander said.

However, he warned that the numbers were not confirmed as many students did not make a final decision on attendance. “It doesn’t mean we really know who’s coming until the students actually go through the door,” he said.

Nick Hillman, director of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, agreed that the size of the final filing will remain unclear for the time being. “The real uncertainty lies in international and graduate students. We don’t know exactly how many international students will show up until they actually show up.”

He added that this year’s dropout rate could be higher than average given the collapse of the coronavirus.

Vanessa Wilson, chief executive of the Universities Alliance representing engineering schools, doesn’t expect a clear idea of ​​the impact on admission until next spring. “Considering the start of January, graduate students, and students who change their minds, we may not be able to get the full picture until next March,” she said.

This year, the government has put additional funding for more expensive courses such as engineering and nursing at colleges with more college admissions and lifted restrictions on the number of students associated with job placements.

However, the situation for those with insufficient student numbers is not clear. In July, the government released details of rescue funding for struggling universities, but made it clear that the bailout would be accompanied by difficult conditions. Sector leaders are now pushing for less burdensome solutions.

University leaders are also concerned that the government is underestimating the resources needed for the sector’s sustainability. They pointed out that although the UK’s 18-year-old population hit the lowest this year, it will start increasing in 2021 and will increase by 27% over the next 10 years.

“Despite the low population, this sector still has a rich year,” says Hargreaves. “We are seeing a surge in demand.”

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