By Rosie Williams
Interest from potential students at Kingston University has dropped by 60 per cent, which has raised concern in some of the university’s faculties.
If this unprecedented decline is reflected in next year’s applicant numbers at Kingston, this could lead to staff redundancies, bigger classes, modules being dropped.
Nicole, 17, from Leatherhead who came Kingston’s open day on Saturday, said: “The fees and funding is going to limit my choices of universities.” Her mother added that the tuition fee loan “is like a small mortgage”.
In April, vice chancellor Julius Weinberg, announced that Kingston will raise the tuition fees to £8,500 for most courses. Students doing pharmacy or studio-based arts and design honours degrees will have to pay the maximum allowed fee of £9,000 a year.
“Kingston has been well managed and we have some savings,” he said. “However, we need to hold onto these savings to protect and prepare Kingston University for the future.”
This maximum was set last year when MPs voted in favour of raising the cap on university tuition fees from £3,200 to £9,000, in December last year following major student protests in London.
The immense increase in tuition fees which takes effect for students starting their degree in September 2012, is forcing students to think more carefully about their choice of university. “I’m anxious about having to do a foundation year as that will add to the cost,” said Jeff Robertson, 17, who’s looking to do graphic design at Kingston. “I thought ‘blimey this is out of my league I really need to crack on.”
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences noticed the largest drop in interest; with a fall in the amount of people signing up to the open days and a significant drop of 60 per cent in the number of prospectuses sent to possible students.
Further the hits on the university website dropped by going on to 50 per cent prior to the open day compared with the same time last year, clearly demonstrating a severe lack of interest from potential freshers.
Science and maths course leaders were optimistic about the number of people showing their interest in starting a degree and said they were “buoyant” about the open days.
Kingston is usually in the top ten in the UK for the amount of received applicants, so a decline in the amount received in the coming year could drastically affect the university.
An open day which was held in July was reported as being very busy.
However, it is expected that the true impact of the fees should be made clear by the next open day on Saturday October 22.
An undergraduate degree, normally a three-year course, will cost students starting next year a minimum of £25500.
Many school leavers who want to go to university are now deciding to stay at home so they can save the money they otherwise would have to spend on expensive student housing.