Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Higher education across the pond

Recently, Henry has blogged about the education bubble here in the USA. I agree that there is a problem, but I like our problem a whole lot more than the one facing the UK.

A quarter of university hopefuls remain unplaced

More than a quarter of UK university applicants are still without a place on a degree course, according to the latest figures.

The university admissions service, Ucas, says up to 187,000 candidates are chasing a falling number of unfilled places.

This means 46,358 more people than last year were in the same position.

With record results and a cap on university places, competition is said to be very tough this year.

Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook warned that this year was likely to be the most difficult year for admissions for a decade. A record 675,465 students have applied to university this year.

Our problem is that we have too many under-qualified students attending college. In the UK, they don't have spots for all the qualified applicants. It will be interesting (and a bit frightening for those of us with children approaching college age) to see how each system corrects itself.

1 comment:

John said...

Don't be fooled by superficial statistics from the UK. Part of the reason so many prospective students are unplaced is that there is a centralised placing service, and many students apply for the same few spots (leaving many unfilled spots that could be filled by applicants, but for the slow process that is centralised 'clearing'). Part is the expectation that 50% of high school graduates should be able to attend a degree course. In the US, the dearth of qualified applicants will eventually lead to market adjustment - prices will fall as too may faculties chase too few students and courses will close, reducing the number of spare places. In the UK, if the market was open, prices would rise, encouraging more courses to open and discouraging some of those students for whom the university degree experience has marginal benefits. But the UK has no open market (having only one private degree awarding university, the University of Buckingham - all of the rest are funded through taxation). The current government is attempting partial reform by raising the cap on fees which universities may charge - the violent student protests in London this week are an indicator of the popularity of that idea with students.