Demand for Higher Education Places in England to Increase to Over 350,000 by 2035

A new report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) which is a UK independent think tank focusing on higher education, has revealed that England will need more than 350,000 higher education places by 2035 in order to keep up with the demand.

“There have been declining numbers of 18-year olds in the population in recent years, which has impacted the way universities have operated. However, 2020 is the last year of this trend and universities are set to see a significant rise in student numbers over the next fifteen years,” HEPI Director of Policy and Advocacy and author of the report Rachel Hewitt said.

According to him, besides focusing on recovering from COVID-19 pandemic, universities should also consider how they can expand in order to integrate this level of increased demand. He also asserted that governments should also look into preparing in the best way for this growth in demand, Erudera College News reports.

The report titled“Demand for Higher Education to 2035” which analyzes the impact of changing demographics and participation rates, predicts for England, that:

  • The demand for full-time higher education places in England by 2035 would increase by  40,000 due to the increased number of 18-year olds, in case the demography was the only factor without any increase in participation.
  • If participation rises during the next fifteen years similar to the average of the last ten years, then by 2035, demand for higher education enrollment would increase to 358,000 full-time places.
  • London and the South East will experience the highest increase in demand as a result of two factors, the demographic changes and participation patterns.

According to the report, more than 40 per cent of demand for places could take place in London and the South East.

Meanwhile, as per Scotland, the report’s data shows that:

  • If demography was the only factor, without an increase in participation, a decrease in demand for 18,000 full-time higher education places in Scotland could be noted by 2035 due to lower numbers of 18-year olds.
  • If there is an increase in the participation rate during the next fifteen years at the same rate as the average of the past five years, the demand could drop to zero full-time higher education places in 2035.
  • Scotland is estimated to be capable of accommodating the growth of participation in higher education without an increase in student numbers as a result of a lower number of 18-year olds.

Whereas, as per Northern Ireland’s changes in demand, it could be similar to Scotland rather than England because of similar demographic and participation changes.

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