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Cambridge Applications Fall by 5% in 2022 | This Week in Admissions News

10 NOV 2022

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week, Cambridge University saw a fall in applications by 5% for the second year in a row amid a rise in cost of living and inflation in the UK. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!

Undergraduate Applications to University of Cambridge fall by 5% in 2022

Undergraduate applications at the University of Cambridge have fallen by 5% this year, to roughly 21,500 applicants, the Varsity newspaper reported. This is the second year in a row that applications to study at Cambridge have fallen, following a drop of 0.4% last year. Similar trends were reported at the University of Oxford, which saw a decrease in applicants of 2.6%.

The 5% fall in Cambridge applications was driven by a 7% decrease in applications from UK students. At Oxford, UK applications increased by 0.4%, with an overall 2.6% decline in applications being driven by a 12.2% drop in EU applications, and a 6.4% fall in overseas applications as a whole.

The drop in applications is being attributed to a rise in living costs in the UK following the Covid pandemic and Brexit. UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant said: “this year is another unique cycle influenced by many external factors as young people consider their choices against a backdrop of rising living costs.” 

Student loan rules have been changed in the UK recently and the students in the 2023 cohort will be the first ones to get a longer payback period of 40 years, instead of the 30 year deadline set for students on existing plans.  They are also expected to have a lower salary threshold for paying back their loans, of £25,000 compared to the current £27,500.

Demand for prestigious courses, like medicine, which have an earlier application deadline than for other university degrees, has also fallen by 3,720, or almost five per cent, to 74,090, according to figures published by Ucas, the university admissions service.

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. The PIE News reports Canada is rolling out an immigration plan in a bid to attract talent to fill skill shortages in key sectors and manage social, economic and demographic challenges in the years ahead. The minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship highlights that international students “are an important source of future permanent residents.” The 2023–2025 Immigration Levels Plan revealed the government is aiming to welcome 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. It comes after the country saw over 405,000 newcomers in 2021. 
  2. In another PIE News article. approximately 350,000 international students attended a German higher education institution during the 2021/22 academic year, an 8% increase from the previous year and a new record. China remains the leading student source country for Germany’s universities, accounting for 12% of international students, followed by students from India. The German education minister described the growth as “very pleasing” and noted that international students “represent an enormous potential of skilled workers”. The latest report from the German academic exchange body also found that the number of international students in Germany continued to increase throughout the pandemic. 
  3. Non-European students looking at studying in Norway will be “deterred” if tuition fees proposed by the government are implemented, according to new figures from Study.eu, PIE News reported. “In the vast majority of cases, Norwegian students have to pay tuition fees to study abroad. There is no reason why it should be any different here,” education minister Ola Borten Moe told parliament in early October. In Study.Eu’s report, over 1,000 students from outside the EEA were surveyed, and the opinion was clear – this would be a very unpopular decision among students.
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