The rise in tuition fees have caused a drop in applications for university enrolment in England for academic year 2012. The new findings from the independent commission on fees suggests that there are 15000 “missing applicants” who may have been expected to sought a degree place but did not.
University applications dropped by 8.9% this year in England, where as neighbouring countries such as Scotland and Wales have not seen any decrease in applicants. This suggests that the reason behind the plummet is due to the rise in fees as England is the only part of the UK that has increased them, with Scotland not having any fees, Ireland having fees capped at £3,465, and the welsh assembly funding fees above £3,465 for welsh students who want to study in UK institutions.
Liam burns, president of the National Union of Students said: “We have always said that it would be a tragedy if any young person were put off applying or going to university because of financial concerns”.
While this may be a sad reality, it does not mean by any means that young people have no other options when it comes to investing in their future. With fees rising to a maximum of £9000 a year and the average degree course spanning over three years, graduates will be going into the “real world” with a debt of £27,0000-not including any maintenance loan they may need to live on-that in reality is an economy where jobs are already scarce. Yes, they may have the benefit of not repaying until their earnings meet or exceed £21,000 a year, but with the current state of the jobs market, getting to that stage may take years.
Why not consider then, a different approach to investing in your future?
Instead of getting yourself into debt that circles around the £30,000 mark and gives you a qualification that doesn’t do enough to set you apart from your competitors, do your A-levels, decide what you are interested in, and consider starting your own company?
There is a large amount of young people out there who are coming out of university only to find themselves jobless and flirting with the idea of starting their own business or enrolling on training schemes. So although the rise in tuition fees have put people off going to university, it should by no means put people off pursuing different career paths and investing in themselves and their future, whether they have a degree to show for it or not.
Georgia Knight, CEO of Through the Door Promotions says: “I had intended on going to university after my gap year; however, I spent a large part of my gap year working, and from gaining experience at different companies it helped me realise what I wanted to go into, which turned out to be PR and Marketing. There are certainly many industries, like PR and Marketing where a degree is not necessary and experience is key. Nowadays, there are so many internships and apprenticeships available that it no longer means that to go far in your career you need to have a degree”.