28/05/2021

Categories: , Undergradute

Rise of Mature University Applicants Offers “Golden Opportunity”

UCAS data for this year shows some rather interesting information. According to the Office for Students (OfS) applications for full-time undergraduate mature students for September 2021 are up. And not just a little.

University applications for mature undergraduate study have risen by a staggering 24 per cent for this coming academic year. This represents an increase of 18,540 students. According to OfS, it is also interesting to note that applications from students aged 35 and over who are looking to study Nursing have risen by 39 per cent.

These figures may come as something of a shock to the administration departments of many Universities as they follow a decade of decreasing numbers of mature student applications. A mature student is someone aged 21 or over, and previously, during the last 10 years, their overall number has dropped by 19 per cent. That’s around 47,000 older students at University.

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Why This Sudden Change?

It is highly likely that this increase in demand can, in part, be attributed to the number of people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic and have chosen to make some changes to their life. They may have opted to go back to University and perhaps do something they could not afford to do previously. In the case of the higher number of individuals applying for Nursing courses, it may be people who always wanted to become a nurse deciding that now is the time to do something about that.

These increases in numbers also come at a time when the government has just introduced their Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This includes the Lifelong Loan entitlement which has been put in place to assist individuals in accessing training at any point in their life.

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What Does This Mean for Universities?

Quite apart from the fact that this increase in applications from mature students will alter the demographic within a University, and this is no bad thing, it does mean that these Universities may find themselves facing some challenges. As detailed in this insight brief from OfS one of these challenges is ensuring that each mature student is supported, and that this growing trend of mature students applying for full-time University places is not lost. Some statistics that University heads may want to take particular note of include:

- In 2018-19 only 84.4 per cent of older students at University on full-time courses continued into the second year. This is 8 per cent lower than the number for younger students

 

- Mature students studying full-time are less likely to attain a first or a 2.1 – 75.6 per cent compared with 85.2 per cent of younger students

- Mature students are most likely to need to balance studying with other responsibilities such as family, and are more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds

Additional support is needed if these older students at University are to be encouraged to complete their studies and graduate, and this is an opportunities for Universities to step up to the plate and put appropriate measures in place now in order to provide that additional support.

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Studying with the University of Bolton – Learning for the Future

At the University of Bolton, we offer a wide range of courses that are ideally suited to those individuals who are looking to enter higher education as a mature student. From Nursing to Engineering, these can help pave the way to a rewarding career, no matter what stage of life you’re at.

Our specialist educators warm welcome can offer you the perfect setting for taking those first steps or further steps in higher education and we are here to support you along your journey. Our aim, like yours, is to help you gain the skills and knowledge that will open up the employment opportunities you’re looking for.

The University of Bolton has been voted No.1 for Student Satisfaction for the past 3 years*. We pride ourselves on offering a positive and supportive University experience that is #UniAsItShouldBe - diverse yet inclusive, and with a high standard of education. We’re committed to always putting the needs of our students first.

If you would like to learn more about the University or our range of courses and how we can support you as a mature student, we would be delighted to talk to you. Our team of friendly advisors can be reached on +44 (0)1204 900 600, or if you prefer, you could message enquiries@bolton.ac.uk.

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