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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 01:28 GMT
UK study applicants are up 8.9%
students in lecture room
Overseas students pay more than those from the UK and EU
There has been a rise of 8.9% in the number of people wanting to study in UK higher education this autumn.

Figures from the admissions service, Ucas, show an overall rise of 9% in overseas applicants on last year.

They appear to show a 5.3% fall in the numbers from outside the EU, but this is due to the "new" EU countries such as Poland being re-categorised.

Growth from those accession countries was especially strong - with 3,427 applicants, a rise of 78.8%.

EU applicants

This will hit universities' incomes to an extent, because EU students pay the same fees as those from the UK, whereas those from other overseas countries pay much more.

The largest number from any one new EU area was from Cyprus, at 1,523 - a rise of 40.2% on last year.

The biggest percentage increase was 433.3%, being the difference between the 45 who applied from Lithuania last year and the 240 who have applied this year.

Ucas said that, ignoring the effect of the changing EU membership, the number of "other overseas" applicants went up 2.8%, to 23,096. A year ago the rise had been 16.4%.

But there was a fall this year of almost 26% among applicants from China, to 3,203. This had been a strong growth area in recent years.

China still accounted for the largest number of overseas applications after the Republic of Ireland.

The Campaign for Mainstream Universities (formerly the Coalition of Modern Universities) has said it believes many Chinese students are being refused visas unfairly.

More women

These Universities and Colleges Admissions Service statistics relate to the number of people who had applied by the 15 January early closing date to study full-time on higher education courses at universities and colleges in the UK this coming autumn.

The total was 384,624. Of those, 55.7% were women - with both the number and the year-on-year increase among women continuing the trend of recent years and outstripping men's applications.

Each applicant can make up to six applications to different courses and institutions.

The number of applications to degree courses was up 9.6% at 168,287.

The most popular subject area was, as usual, law, with 87,453 applications, slightly down on last year.

This was followed by psychology, up 9.1%, pre-clinical medicine (9.7%) and management studies (9.2%).

The number of nursing applications was up 31%.

The most noticeable faller is electronic and electrical engineering, down 8.2%

The number of applications for foundation degrees almost doubled, however, to 18,817, with a continuing fall in the demand for HNDs (down 15.9%).

The Higher Education Minister, Kim Howells, said the overall increase in applicants was good news.

"There are record numbers of people going to university and there is confidence that even more students will go on to university in the future."

Surge in non-EU students expected
08 Feb 05 |  Education
Overseas students 'set to triple'
20 Apr 04 |  Education
Foreign students' visa costs rise
07 Feb 05 |  Education

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