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UK university applications fall as fees rise

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 02:39

Aug.16 - British students are receiving their A-Level results, to see if they've got the grades to get into university. It's the first year that UK university tuition fees are due to rise to a maximum £9000. Reuters TV visits the University of Greenwich to see how fees are affecting student application numbers and university funding. Joanna Partridge reports.

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The moment of truth. Thousands of British students around the country received their A-level grades - exam results which determine whether they secured a place at university. If they didn't - they'll phone a clearing call centre like here at the University of Greenwich. The University has some spare places on its degree courses. In fact this year it received around 7% fewer applications than last year - in line with national figures, says David Maguire, Vice Chancellor of the University of Greenwich. SOUNDBITE: Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, saying (English): "There are a number of reasons why applications are down, without doubt the main one is the increase in fees. Fees have gone up as we know from about £3400 per year for tuition up to a maximum of £9000, although in fact the national average is £7600." Average tuition fees at the University of Greenwich will be £8300 from September. Head of Admissions Bev Woodhams says students are thinking about the cost. SOUNDBITE: Bev Woodhams, Head of Admissions, University of Greenwich, saying (English): "Students are more aware this year, they are asking questions, they are involving their parents and their teachers and they're thinking a lot more about how is this going to affect me in the long run." PTC The rise in tuition fees has discouraged some students from applying to university. It's also led some to question how universities will be able to secure their funding over the years to come. Some analysts predict universities will take on more high-paying foreign students. But new players are also entering the potentially lucrative education market. Education firm Pearson, which also owns the Financial Times, will become the first FTSE 100 company to provide higher education in the UK. From October, around 40 students will begin a three-year BSc degree in business and enterprise at Pearson College. Roxanne Stockwell says their course will offer hands-on business experience, costing £6500 per year. SOUNDBITE: Roxanne Stockwell, Managing Director of Pearson College, saying (English): "They have company-based mentors and they have a guaranteed internship, and we have also been able to draw on a wide range of employers to help with the design and the delivery of the programme, so it brings a real practical element alongside the academic study." For-profit education providers remain controversial in the UK. But with Pearson's new offering and the increase in tuition fees - students of the future may find they have more choices when it comes to higher education. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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UK university applications fall as fees rise

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 02:39