Student intake falls at university
STUDENT intake at the University of Gloucestershire has fallen.
The university has seen an 11 per cent drop in acceptances this year.
But it is still above the national average, of a 14 per cent drop.
The fall has been attributed to higher tuition fees, but Government ministers have also said it was because fewer students were going on to higher education after failing to achieve top grades.
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Penny Eccles, head of recruitment and guidance at the university, said 2,100 full-time undergraduate students had joined the university for the academic year.
"The university has performed well this year in a very competitive market," she said.
"Across the higher education sector, there has been a 14 per cent fall in the number of students accepting university places, reflecting the increase in student fees introduced this year.
"The University of Gloucestershire has achieved recruitment levels slightly better than that national average.
"We are particularly pleased that, under the new Government rules applying to the most highly qualified applicants, we have recruited 230 students with the highest grades of AAB+ at A level or equivalent, making up about 12 per cent of our overall intake."
She added that the university was now focussed on helping its students make Cheltenham their home.
"This recruitment cycle has been a challenging one for all universities, but demand for places on our programmes has remained fairly consistent," she said.
"The entry qualifications achieved by our new students has held up well, and we have expanded the number of places available on a number of courses including sports therapy, journalism and biology.
"We are now focussed on helping our new students settle in well, ensuring we provide the best possible experience of a successful and rewarding higher education."
The situation has been fuelled by fewer students than expected achieving top grades.
Speaking at the Universities UK conference, higher education minister David Willetts said fewer teenagers than expected scored at least two A grades and a B at A-level this year, although more scored highly in vocational qualifications.
He said: "Different institutions will have been affected differently; that is inevitable when making significant changes, which are intended to take greater account of student choice. I recognise this comes at a time when there have been other pressures too."