Drop in university applications of 25,000 shows impact of fees, says Rayner

University applications have dropped by 4% on last year, showing the “worrying impact” the Tories have had on young people’s chances, Angela Rayner has said.

Rayner, the shadow education secretary, pointed to the 19% drop in those applying to nursing courses as “utterly shocking”.

“These figures show the worrying impact of a Conservative government happy to burden young people with over £50,000 of debt just for getting an education,” she said.

The UCAS figures show a drop of 4%, or 25,000 applications, for all university courses, and a 5% downturn in EU student applications. It is the first time since higher fees were introduced in 2012 that there has been a decline in applications.

“From tuition fees rising with no end in sight, to maintenance grants being scrapped, and extortionate interest rates on student debt, this government’s policies have slammed the door on the aspirations of people across Britain, and now we are beginning to see the impact that will have on university applications,” she added.

“The decline in nursing applications is utterly shocking, and shows the results of the government’s regressive and short-sighted decision to scrap nurses’ bursaries at a time when our NHS will desperately need more staff.”

“If the Tories wanted to see more young people go on to university they would bring back maintenance grants, tackle high interest rates on student debt, and end their plans to see tuition fees rise each and every year.”

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