UG applications slow while standards hold up

The case for funding cuts to cover the costs of the demand driven system is reduced by a moderating increase in undergraduate applications  

Some 340 000 people applied for a university place in 2017, up 1.4 per cent on 2016. The increase that year on 2015 was 1.9 per cent. Universities also reduced their offers, to 82.7 per cent, down 1.3 per cent on 2016.

In a rebuff to critics who complain of collapsing standards, just 2.7 per cent of university entrants were admitted on an ATAR of under 50. Offer rates for ATAR applicants in all bands under 70 were down. Close to 60 per cent of starting students did not rely on an ATAR for entry, including nearly 70 per cent of those admitted to education degrees.

Growth in applications was strongest in architecture and building (10 per cent), IT (8.5 per cent) and natural and physical sciences (4.9 per cent). It was weakest in agriculture, down 4.2 per cent and management, down 1.2 per cent.