Almost 1,500 fewer Bradford students applied to go to university this year since tuition fees were trebled, new figures have revealed.
It appears young people are turning their backs on higher education after the annual cost soared to almost £9,000 for most courses that started last month.
Figures compiled by Ucas, the university admissions service, show applications from Keighley fell by ten per cent from 3,794 in 2011 to 3,422 in 2012.
The percentage decrease in applications was seven per cent across Bradford South (3,260 to 3,017), Bradford East (4,659 to 4,343) and Bradford West (5,305 to 4,958). Shipley’s reduction was five per cent (3,808 to 3,618).
In total, applications fell by 1,468 across the district.
Gerry Sutcliffe MP (Lab, Bradford South) said: “It is obvious that the Government’s decision to treble tuition fees is preventing people from places like Bradford going to university. We’re in danger of making education the preserve of the wealthy.”
Kris Hopkins MP (Con, Keighley) said: “The changes to tuition fees, as a result of the Browne Review set up by the previous Government, has undoubtedly played a part in the fall in application numbers but largely as a result of Labour’s campaign of misinformation and scare tactics. The truth is that there will be more support for lower- income households and part-time students.”
George Galloway MP (Respect, Bradford West) said: “It is an outrage that the people – Labour and the Tories – who benefited from free education impose these changes and pulled up the ladder behind them.”
Philip Davies MP (Con, Shipley) said: “I voted against tuition fees, but I do believe too many people go to university and I would like to see fewer go. The problem I have is which people are being deterred from going.”
David Ward MP (Lib Dem, Bradford East) said: “There has been a reduction in the population of that age which may partially account for it. There will be without a doubt a negative reaction to the scaremongering that went with the new system.”
The Department for Business said the fall had nothing to do with rising fees, which had made the funding system fairer.