University applications fall

Applications to Cardiff University are down by 4 per cent this year, reflecting the rise in tuition fees and applicants not achieving their predicted grades. This loss of applicants is considerably higher than the overall loss experienced by other Welsh universities, where applications are down only 2.9 per cent.

Cardiff received a total of 30,377 applications this year, as opposed to 31,671 for the 2011/12 intake. However, when compared to the national average, Cardiff has experienced less of a drop in applicants, with universities across the UK seeing a 7.4 per cent reduction.

With the average annual fee in 2012/13 estimated at £8,123, such a total could cost institutions more than £700 million in funding over the next three years.

Three factors are believed to be behind the shortfall: higher fees deterring students from accepting places; a high number of students deferring entry until next year coupled with a low number that deferred last year; and the lower-than-expected number of AAB students.

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of leading universities, says that the underlying longer-term trend remains an increase in demand for university places; even these latest figures are higher than the average applications three years ago.

She emphasises that ‘despite all the hype, fee reforms are unlikely to cause a long-term decline in applications. In the past, a fall in applications in the first year of higher fees has been followed by increases in subsequent years.’

When asked how the University plans on increasing applications next year, a University spokesperson said that the undergraduate recruitment office had undertaken work to encourage high achieving students to apply to Cardiff.

The work will focus on promoting the academic reputation and rigour of the University and each individual school, capital city living and living costs in Cardiff relative to other locations. It will also seek to promote employability, student life experience and the Students’ Union.

It includes redesigning the University Prospectus and other publications, as well as overhauling the undergraduate web-pages to include clearer information, and a more intuitive search function. They will also include more media rich content, featuring accommodation videos, student interviews and student lifestyle videos.


Anna Hickman