Tuition fees blamed for fall in university applications

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ONE thousand fewer students from Milton Keynes applied to university this year.

The fall in applications has been blamed on a dramatic increase in tuition fees. Labour Parliamentary spokesman for the city, Andrew Pakes, said people are being priced out of the best education possible.

The figures, published by the House of Commons Library, revealed that 9,732 students from Milton Keynes applied to university by the June 30 deadline, down from 10,700 in 2011.

The fall coincides with the Government’s decision to triple tuition fees to £9,000 in 2012, making it much more costly for students and their families.

Mr Pakes, who was the first student from Milton Keynes to become President on the National Union of Students (NUS), campaigned against the introduction of tuition fees in 1998.

Tuition fees were originally introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour Government, but the current Conservative administration brought in the latest increases.

Mr Pakes said: “These figures suggest that students in Milton Keynes are being put off university by the Tory-led Government’s decision to triple student fees to £9,000 a year.

“As a growing borough we cannot afford to price people out of the best education available.

“We should be supporting ambition not making it harder for young people to fulfill their aspirations. This is yet another sign that the Government is making the wrong choices.”

President of the NUS, Liam Burns, added: “These figures show the scale of the gamble the Government has taken with the futures of young people from right across the country.

“David Willetts and Vince Cable can play down the drop in applications all they like, but families and communities across the country are seeing their dreams of going to university disappear before their eyes.”

The House of Commons Library figures are broken down by constituency across the country.

In Milton Keynes North, 4,742 people applied this year compared to 5,193 in 2011.

in Milton Keynes South, 4,990 people applied in 2012 compared to 5,507 last year.

A full list of the figures by constituency can be seen on the Parliament website.