North East Student Numbers in “Freefall”

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, said that the recent drop in student applications showed that the Government’s Higher Education policy was “hitting the North East hard”.

Figures released at midday on Monday 30th January 2012, by the University Clearing and Admissions Service (UCAS) showed that applications to Higher Education from British residents had dropped by 8.7%, with a massive decrease of 11.2% in applications from people living in the North East. Teesside University has recorded a 12.5% decrease in applications.

Tom said “If we want our region and our country to move forward, it is vital that we encourage people to go to university.

Whilst the Government are going to try to spin these figures away, they clearly show the impact of the Government’s decision to nearly triple tuition fees to £9,000 per year. This can be seen by the fact that in Scotland and Wales, where these fees are not being charged, that university applications only fell by 1.5% and 1.9% respectively.

The crash in application figures is disproportionately impacting the North East. I fear that our young people and mature students will not receive the education that they deserve, being put off by these large fees. This would have a disastrous effect on our region’s future, as well as the futures of our region’s universities, and threatens to even further increase regional disparity.

I intend to quiz Business, Innovation and Skills ministers about the decrease in university applications from Teesside residents, and I will continue to urge them to reverse this unfair policy.”

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