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10 NOV 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.