IF 2010 was the year the recession, a lack of jobs and a backlog of applicants from previous years led to record demand for university places, the higher education market in 2011 will be dominated by the increase in the cap on tuition fees. From 2012, fees could rise from just over Pounds 3,000 a year to Pounds 9,000, alongside a hike in interest rates on student loans. In a climate where more than 200,000 students failed to secure a place on undergraduate courses last summer -- and with time running out before the new fee structure is introduced -- expect the race for places to be just as tough this year.
Dr Andrew Homer, director of admissions at Middlesex University, says: "Demand was already very strong this year, and now everyone knows that undergraduate fees will rise in 2012 we expect another surge. There's plenty of interest in all of our courses but we're seeing a lot of applications for sport, psychology, law, advertising and nursing."
This trend for vocational courses that impart skills that can be immediately applied is reflected in the postgraduate market place as well.
"Students know that when jobs are harder to come by they need to up-skill, gain experience and improve their CV so they stand out from the crowd," says Dr Homer. "We're also launching new courses in areas we feel students and industry want."
Jonathon Bell, 26, completed a oneyear full-time MSc in design engineering at Middlesex University last September. He is currently working for Suncombe Ltd, a company which provides cleaning and hygienic processing technology for different industries. …