Massive drop in Sunderland university applications

Sharon Hodgson MP
Sharon Hodgson MP
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AN area of Wearside has seen one of the biggest drops in the number of people going to university since the fees hike.

Parliamentary constituency figures revealed this week showed that in Washington and Sunderland West there has been a 20 per cent drop this year in the number of applications to uni.

All but one constituency in the region saw a fall after the introduction of £9,000-a-year fees, with North Tyneside showing the biggest drop in the country at 23 per cent on last year.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and a shadow education minister, claimed the Coalition Government was taking away opportunities from students in the region.

She said: “These figures demonstrate how the Tory-led government is kicking away the ladders for young people in my constituency and across the North East.”

Other Wearside constituency areas did a little better when it came to the figures.

Sunderland Central saw a stop of 14 per cent, while the number of university applications from people in Houghton and Sunderland South was down by 11 per cent.

The Easington constituency, which has one of the highest levels of deprivation in the country, saw a drop of just five per cent and Durham North was the only constituency who saw a rise in applications, with one per cent.

City of Durham saw a drop of 10 per cent and Durham North West saw a decrease of 11 per cent.

Overall, the North East saw a fall of 13 per cent in the number of people applying for university, down from 62,865 last year to 54,542 this year.

Nationally, only 22 out of 533 constituencies either stayed the same or had a rise in the amount of people applying for university, the rest saw a decrease.

Although MPs and school leaders have expressed alarm at the figures, saying the Government needs to do more to reverse the North East’s poor record for getting young people into higher education, ministers have defended the new fees system, saying more support is available to students than ever.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “Most new students will not pay up front for their tuition.”

He added: “There is a more generous financial support available and graduates will not start paying back their loans until they are in well-paid jobs.”

Twitter: @sunechoschools