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UCU responds to student application figures

Government must reverse funding cuts for 'second chance' students, says union

UCU today said it welcomed news that applications to UK universities and colleges have risen by 8.8% on the previous year. The union added that the considerable growth in applications from older students was proof that higher education had a crucial role to play in helping individuals and the country deal with tough economic times. It urged the government to rethink its widely-criticised decision to axe funding for people looking to reskill, arguing that the world was a very different one to when that decision was originally taken.

  • The overall rise in applications to UK universities and colleges is up 8.8% on the previous year.
  • The rise in students aged 20 and under is up 7.3%.
  • The rise in students aged 21-24 years is up 14.7%.
  • The rise in students aged 25 years and over is up 15.8%.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We know the power that education has to transform lives and we welcome the encouraging increase in applications to study higher education. We need to be doing everything we can to support educators and students in these tough times and believe the government has to look again at its disastrous decision to withdraw funding for people wanting to study new skills.
'The world is a very different place to when that decision was originally taken and the government, now more than ever, has to support people who need a second chance.'
The figures, a snapshot taken at 24 March 2009, will be available from the UCAS website.
The funding cut for ELQ* degrees, announced in September 2007, has  been described as this government's least popular education policy following widespread criticism from unions, universities and the other political parties.

*ELQ degrees are qualifications that are equivalent to, or lower than, one that a person has already achieved.

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