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Almost half of English universities plan to recruit more students after cap is lifted


Rebecca Ratcliffe and Claire Shaw

The Guardian

19 March 2015

PA Consulting Group’s Mike Boxall, a higher education expert, is quoted in an article in the guardian. The article looks at how universities are expanding and some are turning into building sites as they battle for extra students. 

The article points out that almost half of English universities plan to expand their student intake over the next five years as the cap on student numbers is lifted, with some setting ambitious targets to increase recruitment by as much as 50%. 

Mike says: “Almost every campus you go to is a building site.” He goes on to warn that universities are taking risks by pumping large sums of money into infrastructure projects, with no guarantee that students will enrol. 

Mike does, however, warn that you have to seriously wonder where the students are going to come from to fill those places, because student demand is looking really problematic. UCAS is saying that student applications and acceptances are up and that there’s a bounce back. But that’s not happening among the students actually enrolling.

The school leaver population is predicted to continue falling until 2020, while the university application cycle is increasingly volatile, he adds. “The conversion rates between UCAS acceptances and enrolments is becoming unpredictable,” says Mike.


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