Did You Know: UK Needs 300,000 New University Places by 2030

a year ago

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The teenage population in the UK is rapidly increasing. Researchers predict that by 2030, the number of 18-year-olds will grow by 23%. According to the BBC report, about 300,000 new university places will be needed to cover the demand. At this point, the existing model of higher education funding cannot suffice the expenses.  

The participation rate is expected to increase within the next 12 years, so the government has set up a review of university fees. As of 2017, 534,000 students were accepted to 3-year degree courses offered all over the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of the 18-year-old population has been steadily decreasing over the past decade. However, starting 2020 it is expected to rise by 23%.

As for the gender distribution, there are more female than male students currently enrolled in universities. It is presumed by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) that if males were to increase their participation rates, a total of 500,000 extra places would be required by 2030.

So, why being cautious about the reassessment of the current higher education system?

 Why the 'Large increase' Caution?

According to the HEPI president, Bahram Bekhradnia, almost every new student needs a government-subsidized loan. The existing finance model poses a question of “how the policy of uncapped student recruitment can continue". This news looks disturbing given the fact that no confirmation from the Treasury has been given that more funds will be allocated to higher education in the future.

The Department of Education spokesperson has confirmed the research results saying more people than ever before are likely to enter the UK universities. This also includes the record numbers of 18-year-old “students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering full-time.” By lifting the cap on student numbers and reducing the barriers faced by the disadvantaged students, the Department aims to help more people with “talent and potential” enter the university.

The spokesperson concluded their statement with the following: "We are conducting a major review of post-18 education to ensure that the system provides genuine choice for young people, and students and taxpayers are getting value for money."

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