When we set our Strategic Plan in 2013, we recognised that Royal Holloway needed to grow student numbers to reach the levels of income enjoyed by our competitors. Additional income would allow us to invest at the same levels of our competitors in growing teaching and research excellence and the support services and infrastructure needed by students and staff. Our goal was to achieve a total student population of 10,500 by 2020.
Colleagues have worked hard to enable us to remain on target for 2020 and last week we had positive news that we are maintaining momentum with 2019 student applications.
The UCAS deadline for undergraduate applications for entry in September 2019 was 15 January 2019 and it shows that not only are we on target for our 2020 goal, but that we are performing much better than others. This year we have seen an almost 10% increase in our undergraduate applications, against the national average which shows an overall fall in applications of 0.7% and against a competitor group which is up 1.3%.
Uncertainty over Brexit was expected to have a significant impact on applications from the EU. However, undergraduate applications to Royal Holloway from the EU are up on last year, while applications across the sector and our competitors are broadly static. Overseas applications are up across the board; for us, the sector and our competitors. It’s still very early in the recruitment cycle for postgraduate applications, but early indications are good with applications up compared to the same period last year.
Getting a healthy number of applications is just the first step in establishing the new intake for summer 2019. We now enter the season of Applicant Visit Days, the first of which was held on Saturday 26 January, where we encourage applicants to make Royal Holloway their first choice.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our success and for the hard work yet to come.
Professor Paul Layzell