EXCLUSIVE: Official figures reveal sharp drop in number of students applying to Falmouth University

Posted By on 5th February 2019

By Peter Tremayne

The number of students applying to Falmouth University has fallen dramatically.  Figures just published by UCAS show that the total number of applications for the 2018 cycle were 5,980 - down 7% on the previous year.  This compares with a national fall in the overall number of university applications over the same period of only 0.6%.

Last year’s figures accelerate what appears to be a worrying trend, which has seen the number of applications to Falmouth, through UCAS, drop by 13% over four years.  Although there can be non-educational reasons, such as a drop in the birth rate 18 years ago, the similar decline in university applications nationally over four years was only 3%.

Falmouth University has gone through a period of huge growth over the past 12 years, but the shrinkage in applications in recent years is now mirrored in the numbers of students accepted.  According to UCAS, 1,590 new students were accepted at Falmouth in 2018, compared with 1,855 the previous year, and 2,025 in 2016 – a staggering 21% drop in only three years.  The number of students accepted by universities, nationally, over the similar period has fallen by only 0.3%

In November, UCAS reported how universities were increasingly making “unconditional” offers in their attempts to attract more students, meaning that applicants no longer had to demonstrate their ability to obtain a certain number of A-levels at a certain grade.  According to UCAS, more than a third of all university places offered last year were “unconditional” on academic qualification.


Cornwall Council recently based its plan for Falmouth on the assumption that student numbers would increase to 7,500.  Total enrollment is currently 6,000 - but the trend is now downwards, with the university shrinking.

Falmouth University fees for the current academic year are £9,250 per student.

Once known as the Falmouth School of Art, this year Falmouth has dropped 27 places in the Complete University Guide league table and is now 90th.  It is described as a “medium” sized university with around 6,000 students in total, of which 58% are women.

A Falmouth University spokeswoman yesterday (Monday) said the university's ambitions remained in line with its 2030 Strategic Plan, which forecasts a total of 8,500 students with 6,500 studying on campus.


This article has 1 comment

  1. As a School of Art they had a very good reputation, which for some reason they’ve chosen to turn their back on. Their Foundation course (now closed) offered a great start to Cornish students.

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