A fundamental reason as to why I have always been a Conservative is that I believe in aspiration and helping people to become the best they can be. One of the best ways to improve prospects for our young people is through education, with further and higher education enabling greater opportunities. I am therefore delighted to see that information released by UCAS (The University and Colleges Admission Service) shows that University applications in Crawley in 2018 have seen a 40% increase, rising from 25% of 18 year-olds applying in 2009 to 35% in 2018.This is great news for Crawley’s future although there is still more to do in raising aspirations, increasing educational attainment and having more skills in the workforce in a rapidly changing industrial world. Crawley is still below the national average of 37.4% of 18 year olds applying to University but the gap has significantly shrunk even though University applications have also risen across England as a whole.
No-one’s opportunities in life should be determined or limited by their background or circumstances. There is more to do, but it is also great news that the proportion of disadvantaged 18-year-olds applying to University this year is at a record high of 22.6%.This follows statistics released last week showing that a record proportion of state school pupils are going both to University, and to highly selective Universities. 77% of young entrants to Russell Group institutions in England were from state schools, and 90% of young entrants to University more broadly came from state schools.
To enable all young people to choose the route that is right for them, the Conservative Government is also investing in apprenticeships and technical qualifications, so all of our young people are able to improve their chances and get on in life. The Government has also announced a major review of student financing, frozen the tuition fee cap and raised the repayment threshold to £25,000, which will save graduates up to £360 per year from this April. We are making real progress for our young people and seeing more than ever grasp increasing opportunities.