Written by Alyssa Walker

Despite a surge in international student numbers, the overall numbers of applications to universities in the UK are in decline. 

The latest University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) numbers show a decline of 11,000 applications for fall enrollment, as compared to a year ago. 

Experts attribute this two percent decline to the lower population of 18-year olds available to attend university.

What has UCAS worried? A steep drop in the number of older students applying to attend school, especially nursing--which witnessed a 10 percent decline in applications since last year.

UCAS has urged the UK government to look at more effective ways of recruiting and maintaining older students, and at creative ways to offer funding.

There's some good news, too: EU applications are up by two percent from a year ago, with 46,040 students seeking acceptance at a UK university.

Other international applications are also up by eight percent, with 65,440 applicants seeking places at UK universities. 

In an article in The Guardian, Clare Marchant, the Ucas chief executive, said, “Today’s figures show the enduring attraction of a full-time degree for young people and the desirability of UK higher education to students from around the world.

“While this is undoubtedly good news, we must not overlook the continuing fall in applications from older UK students, particularly to study nursing. We would like to see the review of post-18 education and funding in England address specifically the needs of mature students who wish to develop their potential through higher education, whatever subjects or types of study they are interested in.”

She added that students could apply to UK schools until June 30.

Learn more about studying in the UK.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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