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Do high tuition fees make a difference? Characteristics of applicants to UK medical and dental schools before and after the introduction of high tuition fees in 2012

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number3
Accepted/In press21 Nov 2016
Published10 Feb 2017

King's Authors


Aim To compare trends in the volume, socio-demography and academic experience of UK applicants and entrants to medicine and dentistry in the UK with university in general, before and after the major increase in university fees in England in 2012.Methods Descriptive trend analyses of University and College Admissions Services (UCAS) data for focused (preferred subject was medicine or dentistry) and accepted applicants, 2010-14, compared with university in general in relation to socio-demography (age, sex, ethnicity, POLAR 2, region) and academic experience (school type). POLAR2 data provide an indication of the likelihood of young people in the area participating in further or higher education.Results In 2012 the volume of applicants to medicine and dentistry fell by 2.4% and 7.8% respectively, compared with 6.6% for university overall. Medical applications remained buoyant and by 2014 had risen by 10.2% from 2010 to 23,365. While dental applications fell in both 2012 and 2013, they had increased by 15.6% to 3,410 in 2014, above 2010 levels. Females formed the majority of applicants, and admissions, with the proportion gaining admission to dentistry in 2014 reaching an all-Time high (64%), exceeding medicine (56%), and university in general (56%). Mature admissions to dentistry were at their highest in 2010 (29%) falling to 21% in 2014, compared with 22-24% in medicine. Black and minority ethnic group admissions to university, although rising (24% in 2014), are still less than for medicine (34%) and dentistry (48%). In 2013, just over half of the students admitted to dentistry were from BME groups (51%) for dentistry. Among UK applicants

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