Slump in uni applicants from Galloway

CONCERN has been raised over the plummeting number of university applications made by young people in Dumfries and Galloway.

new figures from UCAS, the universities’ central processign orgaNISATION, show a drop of MORE THAN ONE-third in the number of applications from Dumfries and Galloway compared with the same time last year.

The UCAS figures show 127 people from Dumfries and Galloway have so far applied to university this year compared to 193 OVER THE CORRESPONDING PERIOD IN 2010, a drop of 34.2 percent. The overall drop across Scotland IS 17.1 percent.

Dumfries and Galloway Labour Group’s Education Spokesman Councillor Jeff Leaver said: “The plummeting number of university applicants from Dumfries and Galloway must set alarm bells ringing within Government. Compared to this time last year, over a third fewer young people from Dumfries and Galloway have applied for university. While the numbers of applicants have fallen across Scotland, I am highly concerned that the drop in people from our region hoping to go to university is twice as large as the national decrease.

“I have asked the Council’s Director of Education to urgently work with the Scottish Government to investigate why Dumfries and Galloway’s students are being put off. I know from speaking to young people that there is a great fear about debts and the rising cost of living whilst studying. There is also a crisis of confidence in our society because of the Tory cuts, where families are seeing their finances squeezed from tax rises and parents have lost their jobs. University seems much more daunting in this climate of cuts, but we cannot afford to go backwards. Over the last few years we have seen a steady increase in the number of people from Dumfries and Galloway going to university but we are in danger of undoing that good progress.

“These figures are a clear sign that Government is failing the young people of Dumfries and Galloway. Access to university must always be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.”