Why has the University of Suffolk seen a rise in applicants?
PUBLISHED: 11:30 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:20 17 February 2020
The University of Suffolk has seen a rise in local applications – after reaching out to those who previously had little access to higher education.
The university, headquartered in Ipswich, saw a 12% rise from its target schools in Suffolk by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) deadline last month.
Staff say the increase is attributed to the impact of a new project called "Take Your Place", run by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach Partneship (NEACO), which aims to help young people from East Anglia with little or no experience of university explore the world of higher education.
The project, also run at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia, works with students in years nine to 13 who live in areas identified by the government as having low rates of progression to higher education.
Miles Cole, who oversees NEACO for the University of Suffolk, said he is "really pleased" with the results.
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Mr Cole added: "We know anecdotally that many of the students we work with were planning to apply to university, and to the University of Suffolk, so it is good to see this being the case in the latest figures.
"The University of Suffolk is a community impact university and its aim is to raise aspirations and encourage participation in higher education.
"This mirrors the aims and ambitions of NEACO. Through our work, we are increasing the number of first-generation students and helping them to explore options they may have otherwise thought weren't possible for them."
A team of 11 so-called "higher education champions" has been based at schools and colleges since the project's launch, delivering 3,500 activities to 24,500 students from 50 schools and colleges as of July 2019.
In November, more than 120 students from 12 Suffolk schools attended the "Making Good Choices" conference, which focuses on inspiring young people to think about how their decisions they make affect their futures.
The university has previously made headlines in recent months after it helped develop a mobile application to help children with asthma to remember to use their inhalers, while 2019 graduate Ched Uzor from Bury St Edmunds is currently starring on hit ITV show Love Island.
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