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Big drop in number of new admissions to the four major study courses connected with the welfare services: "This is very worrying"

July 27, 2022
60,034 applicants have been offered a place in higher education. Admissions to Nursing, Social Education, Social Work and Teaching are 14 % down on 2019. The Minister is concerned about the drop in admissions to study programmes of such central importance for our welfare society.

Once again this year, Social Education and Nursing will be the study programmes taking in the largest numbers of new students when applicants receive an answer to their application on 28 July.

As a result of a significant drop in the number of applications, intake to the two programmes will be respectively 15 % and 18 % lower compared to 2019, and there are vacant places all over the country.

Teaching and Social Work, which are the sixth and seventh largest study programmes this year, also have fewer admissions: 11 % and 10 % respectively.

The Minister for Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen, comments as follows:

- These very important subjects are the backbone of our welfare society, and this year we will have a lot of vacant study places, especially in Nursing. I find this deeply worrying. We are already under pressure to fill many of the vacant positions in this field, so we do need more new students. There seems to be a trend at the moment implying that the more academic an education is, the greater its status. We can see that this year as well; there are a few, specific study programmes that attract young people more than others. I  intend to meet with the professional organizations and the institutions that offer these  programmes for a serious discussion of what we can do together to reverse the trend. The government will also ask the Reform Commission to offer suggestions as to possible  solutions.

- This is not a problem that can be solved in the twinkling of a eye. The government is   therefore taking action on several fronts: As well as increasing funding for several of the study programmes, we have allocated DKK 600 million a year from 2021 onwards for the recruitment of health service personnel and funding for a significant boost to teacher education. Moreover, we have set up a salary structure committee and a commission that will make recommendations as to how we can establish a more robust health service.

60,034 applicants have been admitted in all

After the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, in which a record number of people applied for and were admitted to higher education, 60,034 have been admitted this year.

This is 5,680 fewer than in 2019, a fall largely due to the fact that in connection with COVID-19 a one-off decision was made to finance more than 6,000 extra study places, and also to the fact that a broad political majority has decided to close a number of study programmes offered in English.

According to the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science, the decline in overall enrolment is therefore to be expected.

The Deputy Director of the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science, Mikkel Leihardt, comments as follows:

- The extraordinarily high intake during COVID-19 means that many of the students who would otherwise start a course this year are probably al-ready well into their studies. In addition, we can see a tendency for some of the young people from what has become known as 'Generation Lockdown' to postpone the start of their studies and take a gap year. We have a booming economy and the world is once more open to travel after the pandemic. We can also see that approximately a third of the drop in enrolments is due to the fact that 56 English-language programmes are not enrolling this year, as a result of the broad political agreement to bring Danish SU (State Educational Grant) expenditure on migratory workers under control. As a result, fewer students are being admitted from abroad.

The Minister for Higher Education and Science, Jesper Petersen, adds:

- For some time, admissions have been reaching record numbers year by year. We shall probably have to get used to the fact that this is not going to continue. There is already a huge demand for young people due to record high employment, and we are facing years ahead with declining youth cohorts. However, there are many opportunities open to young people today, and that is really positive.

- Tonight, 60,034 young people will receive a positive answer to their applications. So there are still a lot of people who can look forward to starting the study programme of their choice. I would like to offer them my heartfelt congratulations. I feel happy on their behalf and wish them the best of luck with the studies they will soon be beginning. And I would encourage those who have not been admitted to apply for some of the available places.

Help for rejected applicants

Just under 80,000 people applied for a place in higher education this year, of which 7,507 qualified applicants have had their applications rejected. A further 8,509 applicants did not meet the entry requirements.

All qualified applicants who have been rejected will be contacted by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science and offered guidance by Studievalg Danmark. Here, they will be able to get information, for example, about available study places. This type of targeted guidance was a success in 2020 and 2021, when Studievalg Danmark conducted 1,377 and 975 guidance interviews, respectively, compared to only 197 interviews in 2019. Therefore, the government has allocated funds to continue this offer of extra guidance again this year.

Overview of the 2022 intake:

For further information:

For more information, please contact the Ministry of Higher Education and Science press line: +45 7231 8181, or email: presse@ufm.dk

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