University of Leicester celebrates admissions boost as it opens more doors for local students

Posted by pt91 at Feb 17, 2017 12:40 PM |
Undergraduate registrations at the University increase by almost 10 per cent

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 17 February 2017

The University of Leicester has seen an impressive rise in student intakes and applications after reaching out to more schools in the East Midlands.

Undergraduate registrations at the University increased by almost 10 per cent last year, bucking the national trend of nearly zero growth, the latest figures from UCAS show.

The prospects for this year’s September enrolments also look promising, with a 2 per cent increase in applications up to the January UCAS deadline compared to the same time last year, contrasting with a 5 per cent fall nationally.

A focus on close relationships with schools in the region and further afield to help raise the aspirations of pupils, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, has reaped rewards, the University says.

Leicester was identified as one of the country’s top risers for acceptances last year in recent Times Higher Education analysis, while other universities experienced a significant drop.

The University has worked hard to put in place initiatives to meet its targets for providing places for more students from disadvantaged backgrounds encouraged by the national Office for Fair Access.

Links with schools in the East Midlands have been strengthened and extended to ensure local schoolchildren with talent and potential are given encouragement, information and support. Four progression programmes to help pupils from poorer backgrounds win degree places have been oversubscribed this year, with applications up by 25 per cent compared with last year.

Leicester offers hundreds of places to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds at schools in its region who join programmes at the age of 16 designed to raise aspirations and help them find their way onto the right degree course.

Many students who successfully progress through the programmes are then offered places with lower entry grades and with a £1,000-a-year bursary to help cover costs. Some of the programmes are aimed at encouraging students to study subjects that tend to be dominated by applicants from wealthier households, such as medicine and law.

From September the University’s Medical School will be offering scholarships worth up to £9,000 to students joining a new Foundation Year designed to attract more young people from state schools and poorer households.

Leicester’s Provost, Professor Mark Peel, said: “All universities in the past few years have been increasingly interested in their regions. That is why the suggestion from the government that universities should be compelled to sponsor a school was not necessary since most universities have been working more closely with schools anyway. Even universities that recruit nationally, including Leicester, are seeking strong local links. One of the things that we have done that has really helped is taking a strong lead around developing some local and regional networks aiming to widen access to higher education through collaboration with schools. The approach has really paid off for everyone.”

Raising aspirations is not only about trying to attract more students to Leicester, either, he added.

“One of the things we are conscious of in the East Midlands is that students seem to travel a bit less to study for a degree. They may simply go to the nearest university without considering other options. We are in the business of raising students’ eyes so they look beyond the customary and think about where they will be successful.”

Ends

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The University of Leicester is ranked 25th in this year’s Times and Sunday Times university league table, above several Russell Group universities and 32nd in the Complete University Guide league table 2017.

UCAS figures published this showed a 5 per cent decline in applications for 2017/18 entry on the same point last year, and a 7 per cent decline in applications from the European Unions.

Leicester registration figures indicate how many students actually registered to start a course. Not all students apply for places via UCAS.

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