UK: Universities warn of stiff competition in recession

The recession has triggered a scramble for a place at university with a record-breaking 465,000 people applying to begin a degree this September and a significant increase in the number of older applicants, official figures suggest, writes Polly Curtis in The Guardian. Vice-chancellors warned last week that with a 7.8% increase in applications - 34,000 more than last year - students face the most intense competition in years.

A last-minute boom in applications in the run-up to the December deadline is thought to have been triggered by people wanting to use academia to escape the recession and be better qualified by the time the jobs market picks up again. The number of applications from over-24s rose by 12.6% and the 20-24 age group increased by 12.9%, the figures published yesterday by the university application service Ucas revealed.

There are also signs that the recession is affecting people's choice of degree, breeding a new generation of economists and mathematicians.
Full report on The Guardian site