Students not applying to top universities despite cash incentives

The Guardian is reporting that according to a recent UCAS survey, offering students incentives worth up to £500 would still fail to persuade many of them to visit top universities such as Leeds, Manchester or Cardiff.

The survey of 16,000 British undergraduate applicants, weighted to reflect the national population, found that 57% of those who did not apply to the so-called higher tariff institutions did not even consider doing so, with little variation between regions or sex.

Nearly half of those who did not consider more prestigious universities said the entry grades were too high, but almost as many said that none offered a course they wanted to study, while one in five said they were “too expensive” and one in six said they didn’t know enough about them.

The potential offer of travel vouchers was not enough to tempt more than half of those to apply to the likes of Exeter or Edinburgh. Around a quarter wouldn’t even consider visiting the universities even when the proposal was raised to £500 – suggesting that money alone would not be enough to overcome the barriers that many students experience.

About a quarter of the 16,000 undergraduates who entered in 2015 agreed that those at university “tend to be from a wealthier background than me”, while most disagreed.

A report by Ucas based on the survey results recommended that universities “consider financial incentives to encourage applicants to attend more open days” and should be clear about course entry requirements. 

More at: Students not applying to top universities despite cash incentives

What do you think could encourage students to attend Russell group universities? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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