Fall in interest from potential freshers raises fears

By Rosie Williams and Fabiloa Büchele

   Overall visitor numbers were down around half in some faculties, with arts and social sciences courses particularly badly hit. Univerities across the country are waiting to find how many applicants they can attract now course fees are rising to as much as £9,000.
    Kingston is charging £8,500 for most of its courses and will offer bursaries and discounts to many new students. In April, Vice Chancellor Julius Weinberg announced that Kingston would raise its tuition fees for most courses.
    Students doing pharmacy or studio-based arts and design honours degrees would 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.”

Top 10
    Kingston is usually in the top 10 in the country for the number of applications it recieves. At the open day on October 8 vistors for some courses had dropped by 60 per cent or more.
    Many potential students and their parents raised the increase in tuition fees as a concern. Nicole, 17, from Leatherhead who came to Kingston’s open day said: “The fees and funding is going to limit my choices of universities.”
     Her mother added that the tuition fee loan was “like a small mortgage”. Jeff Robertson, 17, who is looking to do graphic design at Kingston, said: “I’m anxious about having to do a foundation year as that will add to the cost. I thought ‘blimey this is out of my league I really need to crack on’.”

Bright spots
    There were bright spots at the open day. Engineering and maths had numbers comparable to last year while the courses of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture were also popular.
    One suggestion is that students are turning to more vocational courses.
  Science and maths course leaders were optimistic about the number of people and said they were “buoyant” about the open days. An open day held in July, was reported as being very busy.
    The maximum tuition fee was set last year when MPs voted in favour of raising the cap on university tuition fees from £3,200 to £9,000, despite major student protests in London.

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