Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Student numbers at University of Cumbria fall 18 per cent

The University of Cumbria has seen an 18 per cent reduction in the number of full-time students.

Ben Wohl photo
Ben Wohl

One student leader from the Carlisle campus said today that the figures reflect how people have been deterred from studying in higher education by the steep rise in tuition fees.

The decision to let universities raise undergraduate fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year provoked widespread public anger and battered the credibility of the Liberal Democrats, who went into the general election promising to phase out fees.

Last year’s intake was the first generation of students to sign up for courses under the new regime.

Ben Wohl, marketing and communications manager with the University of Cumbria Students’ Union, said: “Some people have been deterred by the higher fees and the economic climate may also have deterred people.

“With the fees and the graduate jobs situation the way it is, I think some people may be asking whether it’s worthwhile going to university.

“Judging by the figures, some may decide it would be better to study part-time while working as well.”

Mr Wohl said he had noticed a change in the approach and character of the latest intake of undergraduates – again a possible reflection of the new financial reality they face.

“They’re different to how they were in past years,” he said.

“They are less interested in going out, and more focused on studying.

“It’s too early too see the full impact of the new fees but there are a lot of possible consequences.

“Higher education is in flux and the changes, as well as having an impact on students, will also affect the bodies that deliver higher education.

“It represents a major shift in how universities get their funding and smaller universities could find it quite difficult. There could be more of a shift to part-time study.”

Mr Wohl said that the University of Cumbria was well placed to cope, having traditionally catered for part-time and non-traditional ways to study and gain a degree.


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