The latest report on unmet demand for university places shows that the number of ‘unsuccessful eligible applicants after discounting’ is down for the third year running, to 13,200. Among school leavers who did OK in their exams unmet demand is very low. Of the 68,916 home state school leaver applicants with an ENTER of 70 or above, just 964, or 1.4%, did not get an offer.
It’s fair to say that at the aggregate level unmet demand isn’t now much of a problem – especially when we consider that some of those considered academically ‘eligible’ in the discounting process, those with an ENTER of 53 or above and all those applying on another basis, probably would not be offered a place even if there were no quotas holding down the number of places universities could offer (a point I expand on in my recent CIS paper).
It’s when the applications, offers and acceptances data is examined in more detail that we begin to see problems. As I argued in my CIS paper, and which the 2007 statistics show again, there are persistent patterns of over-supply relative to first-preference applications in some fields (agriculture and science) and under-supply in others (eg in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science 50-60% of applicants with ENTERs of 90+ do not get offers).
Continue reading “The problems low ‘unmet demand’ conceal”