Monday, 28 April 2014

Say hello, wave goodbye

UCAS release regular statistics on applications and entry to UK universities, and there’s some really interesting data available to download.  One aspect that caught my eye recently was the growth in the number of institutions which recruit through UCAS:

Year of entry
Institutions
2008-09
307
2009-10
306
2010-11
306
2011-12
302
2012-13
320
2013-14
361

Aha! I thought – that’ll be the growth in alternative providers. But I looked at the data more closely and found that it wasn’t as simple as that.

Firstly, the data show more entry to and exit from the UCAS sector than I’d expected:

2013-14
2012-13
2011-12
2010-11
2009-10
Total institutions
361
320
302
306
306
Total new this year
45
24
7
12
8
Total gone from year before
4
6
10
12
9

In total, 402 establishments had recruited through UCAS in the period.

Secondly, the new entrants and leavers were quite varied:

Coming
Going
Renaming
FE
HE
Alternative
FE
HE
Alternative
2009-10
1
2
3
3
3
2
1
2010-11
6
6
2
1
4
1
1
2011-12
1
2
0
3
5
1
1
2012-13
2
11
0
8
4
0
0
2013-14
2
36
1
6
0
2
0




(The numbers don’t quite tally because some of the changes happened over several academic years, with parallel running in the UCAS lists)

My conclusions? Firstly, the growth in ‘HE in FE’ Colleges having direct entry through UCAS is likely to be connected to the legislative and regulatory changes which came about in 2010-11 as a result of the coalition government’s changes.  But I suspect that it is too early (and the data set here is too small an evidence base) to make any larger prognostications.

Secondly, there is a real growth in alternative providers.  Here is a little more data, showing total UCAS acceptances by providers for the past five sessions, with providers analysed into higher education institutions, further education colleges offering HE, and alternative HE providers:

2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
HEIs
451,040
461,305
482,035
428,115
465,380
FECs
18,155
16,735
19,710
18,675
20,235
Alternative
705
1200
2560
2095
3090
Total
469,900
479,240
504,305
448,885
488,705

And in percentages:

2009-10
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
HEIs
95.99%
96.26%
95.58%
95.37%
95.23%
FECs
3.86%
3.49%
3.91%
4.16%
4.14%
Alternative
0.15%
0.25%
0.51%
0.47%
0.63%
Total
100.00%
100.00%
100.00%
100.00%
100.00%

And my final conclusion? There’s a real opportunity for the Times Higher to run a ‘births, marriages and deaths’ column: only 267 of the 402 establishments hadn’t stopped or started using UCAS during the period.

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