Published: 14 February 2007 at 10:01
Official figures from the universities and colleges admissions service (UCAS) have, this week, revealed that applications by students to British universities have risen to a record high; and Anglia Ruskin University, with a bumper increase of 23% in its applications, has recorded one of the highest increases in the university sector, ranking among the top 10 for this year’s substantial increase. In some subject areas, the University has recorded unprecedented increases in degree applications with architectural courses jumping by 96% on last year, teacher training courses by 75%, design studies by 52% and nursing studies by 35%.
According to the recently-released UCAS figures, while there has been an overall rise in applications within higher education following on from last year’s reduced applicant numbers in the wake of the introduction of the new, ‘study now, pay later’ £3,000 per year tuition fee, there are wide variations in university performance.
For Anglia Ruskin University, attracting over 8,000 degree applications to date, with still more expected, this is proving to be its best year ever in terms of attracting interest from prospective undergraduates. Despite many gloomy predictions of collapsing student numbers last year following the introduction of the new tuition fees regime, the University had managed to hold its reduction in degree applicant numbers to little more than 2%, estimating that 2006 would be no more than a temporary blip during a period of adjustment. This year’s blistering performance, however, has exceeded even the most optimistic projections the University had been making for its September 2007 full-time, undergraduate intake.
The University believes that the reasons behind the large jump in its applications can be attributed in part to more widespread knowledge of the new tuition fees system, with its key features of no upfront payment and a repayment scheme which begins only after graduation when the individual is in a job and earning more than £15,000 a year. This, together with a better system of providing financial support to those from less affluent backgrounds, has meant a better deal for many than the previous system.
The University also points to the generosity of its own, non-means tested scholarship scheme which sees individuals receiving a total of £2,000 over the three year study period, an offer that is virtually unmatched by any other university in the country; and the success of its highly effective, cinema promotional campaign during the spring and summer of last year which connected extremely well with youthful audiences throughout the region.
Additionally, the University attributes its growing popularity to the practical, work-relevant nature of its courses. The degree schemes on offer at Anglia Ruskin University are designed to meet the ever-changing needs of the workplace. For 2007, courses such as Mobile Media Technology and Gaming and Animation Technology, demonstrate how responsive the University is to the introduction of new technologies within the economy.