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The Society for Research into Higher Education

Ian Mc Nay


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Lies, damned lies and spin; never mind the statistics

By Ian McNay

Press reports, 31 January, on UCAS statistics on the 15 January deadline showed remarkable unanimity around telling, shall we say…not the whole truth:

–         Girls lead the way as degree applications hit record levels – Times

–         Record numbers of 18-year-olds apply to university – Telegraph

–         University applications hit record high – Guardian

The Telegraph had a second story claiming the number of applicants aged 20 and over had increased by 5%.

All this gave comfort to [English] ministers who claim that high fees have had no long term effect on applications. So, let us look at the longer term and compare the cycle for 2014 entry Continue reading