UK Art Colleges Suffer 27% Drop in Applicants

1/3 of the graduates in the creative industries are still seeking jobs three years after graduation

There has been a significant fall, amounting to 27.1 per cent in applications to creative arts and design university courses this Autumn.  According to the latest October figures published by UCAS, applicants for courses commencing September 2012 are below average. This massive drop has been attributed to the introduction of fees from next year. Some art courses have already made it clear that they will be charging the maximum of £9000. This latest statistic is overwhelming compared to a 7.9% decline in applications, across all courses. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service has been unable to account for the discrepancy. Creative arts and design courses have now seen one of the biggest drops among the subjects surveyed.  The only slower-growth area was mass communications and documentation (down 40.6 per cent) and education (down 30.4 per cent).

Less than ten years ago, a similar Autumn survey showed a growth rate of 25% in the same period. It is now quite possible that with a third of the graduates in creative industries still seeking jobs three years after gaining their degrees, it could  become an uphill struggle to get young people to engage with arts subjects at university level.

The report was compiled by the university representative organisation, Universities UK and shows that the number of creative art and design students in 2009/10 stood at 173,825, up from 139,130 in 2003/04. London is a global city employing 24 per cent of the UK’s creative and cultural workforce, making it the ideal place to study. The cultural and creative industries are all here, but with soaring accommodation prices, Its multitude of creative and cultural organisations seem less appealing than many of the regional art colleges. London on the other hand provides a unique multicultural and vibrant enviornment with employment opportunities post graduation. This report is nationwide and although London has more Arts Universities than the rest of the country, this is clearly a national problem. We will now have to wait until January to see how the figures pan out and all of the applications close for the 2012 enterance.

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