Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Fees Iniquity Offers Firms an Opportunity

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Fees Iniquity Offers Firms an Opportunity

Article excerpt

As per your coverage, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has published its annual figures on applications grouped by subject and region ("Crisis, what crisis? Fall in applicants meets with indifference", 2 February). Among the multiple charts are two datasets suggesting the fearfulness of this generation of students.

As you rightly highlight, with a 9.3 per cent drop in British applications (eliminating Scottish data) and with a greater proportion of students leaving it until the last minute to apply, it is apparent that fees reform and charges of up to Pounds 9,000 a year have made young people question the value of a university education. The decline is more acute in less affluent areas, with applications from the North East and South West of England and the East Midlands all down by between 10 and 12 per cent: as genius is not linked to the parental bank balance, this is likely to limit the opportunities for many of the UK's most talented youth.

But the data also present opportunities for a number of sectors, such as electronic engineering, which are traditionally undersubscribed yet in demand by employers. The climate of fear has encouraged students to consider their career paths carefully: vocational courses, such as engineering (down by just 1. …

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