NUS-USI today raised concerns following UCAS application figures released this week which show that applications from Northern Irish students are down by 18%. This constitutes the largest drop in applications in any province in the UK.
NUS-USI said that this was of particular concern given that this comes at a time when youth unemployment in Northern Ireland is the highest in the UK. In West Belfast, youth unemployment hit as high as 19.1 per cent – the highest in the whole of the UK.
Adrianne Peltz, NUS-USI President said:
“It’s hugely worrying that university applications have fallen by almost a fifth compared to this time last year – and I would suggest that urgent work needs to be done to try to address this during the rest of the applications process, which remains open until mid-January.
“The extent of this drop in applications to university is particularly worrying given the scant job opportunities available to young people across the UK, and in Northern Ireland in particular. Higher education remains an excellent way of developing skills and experience which is highly valued by employers – and politicians’ minds must be focussed on extending this opportunity to as many young people as possible.”