One in three students could be turned away from University this year as applicants race to get accepted before the inevitable tripling of tuition fee prices.
In the month of December applicants were up by 23,000 to the previous year, with more than 344,000 completed applications by December 20, the highest at this stage of process.
As of next year tuition fees will rise from £3,205 to £9,000 and the competition for places has increased dramatically. Many are cancelling gap years to beat the rise and are competing with; young people attempting to avoid the dole queue, school leavers, and the tens of thousands of unlucky applicants from last year.
The number of students applications from elsewhere in the EU have also gone up resulting in a 7.9% rise from 14.962 to 16,143, placing them in direct competition with applicants from the UK as part of the cap on university places imposed by the government.
Students lucky enough to get on a course this year will pay the existing, lower fees for the duration of their degree, but student leaders have warned that even the more well qualified applicants could very well be turned away this year.
According to the Universities and Colleges Admissions service, applications for courses this autumn have already rose by 2.5%, with a 21.6% increase of applicants in September. When the government announced its tuition fee plans two months later, there was a 20.4% rise in applications.
Having turned away a record number of applicants last year, the government has revealed that there will be a freeze on university places this year and also 10,000 fewer next year.
The anticipated number of applicants this year is expected to reach 705,000, which could see almost 226,500 being turned away.
President of the National Union of Students Aaron Porter believes that; a ‘ministerial rethink’ is needed as the ‘arbitrary’ limit on the number of students will ‘halt the aspiration of well-qualified students’.