View guides

UCAS Data Highlights Struggling Universities

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Data released by UCAS has revealed that some universities are losing students at a significant rate.

In an increasingly competitive market, universities including Sunderland, Southampton Solent, London Metropolitan, Cumbria and Wolverhampton have suffered from a substantial decline in the number of acceptances from 18-year-old UK students in the past four years.

University vice-chancellors say that since the removal of the cap on student numbers, competition for students has never been so fierce.

According to UCAS, Sunderland University reported a decline of 26% in the number of 18-year-old UK students who accepted places, and 32% since 2012, when the cap was removed.

Both Sunderland and Southampton Solent were hit the hardest last year, however London Metropolitan University was also down, with a 14% reduction in 18-year-old UK acceptances. However, since 2012 when the cap was lifted the number of 18-year-old UK acceptances have fallen by 45%.

Other big losers included Cumbria University, down 13% and Wolverhampton University, which reported a 12% fall.

Sunderland University has indicated its prepared for the reduction in 18-year-old acceptances and has worked hard to increase its intake of mature students to help compensate the fall.

Meanwhile Prof Graham Baldwin, Southampton Solent University's vice chancellor, said of the figures: "This is the most competitive student market I can ever remember. There is much more use of unconditional offers, institutions offering financial incentives and other tactics. Everyone is going to extreme lengths to engage students and pull them in. Things have changed very, very quickly."

Jo Johnson, the minister for universities, has indicated in the past that there must be room for "market exit" in the system, however the question of whether a university would be allowed to go bankrupt is open for debate.