Universities prepare for fewer students after fees increase

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UNIVERSITIES across Yorkshire have seen a drop in applicants for degree courses starting next year when tuition fees almost treble.

Four of six higher education institutions which provided figures to the Yorkshire Post admitted they had received fewer applications by this month than in December last year.

However most of the region’s universities also said applications were up on two years ago and several said they might be able to attract more top performing students under the new system.

Four universities – Huddersfield, Leeds Metropolitan, Sheffield Hallam and York – have seen numbers drop for courses starting in 2012 when the new fees comes in.

Three of the six universities in the region which are charging top level fees of £9,000 – Hull, Leeds and Sheffield – have not revealed their application figures.

Two institutions – Bradford and York St John – have more applications than last December.

UCAS figures showed the number of applications to UK universities has dropped by 12.9 per cent compared with last year. However the Yorkshire universities which provided figures appear to be performing better than the national average. Leeds Met saw a six per cent drop while Huddersfield’s is just two per cent. York said it had seen a “slight fall”.

Bradford’s applications have gone up two per cent while York St John saw a 10 per cent increase.

The fees’ limit has almost trebled to £9,000 from 2012 as universities increasingly rely on funds from Government loans which will be repaid by graduates once they begin earning more than £21,000-a-year.

Fees for courses starting this year were just £3,375. The 2012 increase became necessary when the Government cut the universities’ teaching grant by 80 per cent.

York, York St John and Sheffield all said they might take on more students with at least two As and B in 2012.

Fee rise hits numbers: Page 7.