This week’s release of UCAS’s January deadline statistics confirmed some alarming news. Total UK applications submitted have fallen in spite of rising demographics, lowering the 18 year old application rate for the first time in many years.
Examined by the tariff group, higher tariff institutions are continuing to receive ever higher shares of the total application pool despite already having reined in offer-making last year and many such institutions facing challenging capacity constraints. The lower- and medium-tariff institutions who are most likely to have capacity to grow meanwhile continue to be squeezed.
This mismatch in the distribution of supply and demand in the sector threatens not only many institutions themselves but also years of progress in raising entry rates and widening participation.