Applications to study engineering at university have held relatively steady – down 2% compared with the same period last year – despite the introduction of higher tuition fees. There appears to have been a late surge in applications. The last time a tally was taken, in November, applications were down 8%.
Despite the slight fall, engineering has fared better than many other subjects, with some seeing drops of as much as 20%.
Paul Jackson of Engineering UK said: “The relatively low decline in applications to engineering degrees in comparison to other subjects is a heartening indication that students are clued-up and making educated decisions about the subjects that will stand them in good stead.”
He went on: “The unprecedented registration levels for the Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair in March show that teachers, parents and young people themselves want to learn more about where their school subjects might lead them. We’re going to need over 2.2 million engineers over the next 5 to 10 years so the opportunities will be there for skilled engineering graduates.”
The figures released by the university admissions service UCAS cover applications submitted by mid-December 2011. The final deadline for most courses had not yet passed so it is too early to draw definitive conclusions from the data.
The number of students applying for all subjects at university has fallen by 6% compared with the same period last year. Total application numbers have been down throughout the 2011-12 admissions cycle. Data released in October revealed a 9% drop in applications to study all subjects, and by November the gap had widened to 12%.
UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “Evidence of a late surge as the 15 January deadline approaches is now emerging. Applicants are taking longer to research their choices but the applications flow has speeded up, as these statistics show.”
She added: “It remains too early to make predictions about the final year-on-year figures.”