The federal government cancelled the demand driven system exactly when there was no blow-out in undergraduate numbers. New federal figures show total applications for a 2018 undergraduate place, via tertiary admissions centre and direct to universities, were down 3.3 per cent on 2017. The offer rate was steady at 84 per cent. Non Y12-leaver applications were down 5 per cent. Overall applications from people in the lowest SES quartile were down 4.4 per cent. Applications from Indigenous Australians dropped 5.2 per cent, the first fall since this data collection commenced, in 2010.
Teacher education took the biggest discipline hit, with applications down 8.8 per cent on 2017. Offers were 78 per cent, down from 85 per cent in 2015, and acceptances marginally down to 77 per cent.
The Group of Eight remained the most popular brand, receiving 22 per cent of all applications (including to universities that are not members of the four university-groups). The Go8 recorded the lowest, 1.5 per cent, drop in applications, except for the Regional Universities Network, which was down 0.7 per cent, to an 8.8 per cent share.
Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson attributes the overall drop to an improving job market.