What’s going on with science applications #2?

Earlier in the year, I reported evidence that contrary to my earlier expectations demand for science courses, for which the student contribution rate has been cut by by more than $3,000 a year, was going up significantly.

The national final applications data shows that science did indeed observe a surge in applications, up 17% in a market that was up 5% overall. The market share gain was 0.72%, within the historical pattern of annual movements of more than +/- 1% market share being rare, but still a big change (some previous U of M professional courses now requiring a science course first explains some, but not all, the increase).

So did the price decrease cause this market share shift? There is some other evidence in the applications data consistent with this interpretation. Past research suggests that people have clusters of aptitudes, skills and interests. On this theory we would expect declining market share in disciplines that draw on similar clusters to science. This is apparent in agriculture (-.49%) and health (-.34%). It is not apparent in engineering (+.32%) or IT (+.11%).

There is however one particularly curious aspect to the applications data. Continue reading “What’s going on with science applications #2?”