How getting into uni just got tougher
University courses will be harder to get into, with ATAR cut-offs predicted to spike thanks to a skyrocketing demand for tertiary study and a cap on funded places.
Griffith University tertiary expert Stephen Billett said "without a doubt" the domestic student market would be more competitive given the loss of international students and the economic downturn of COVID-19.
And former Grattan Institute higher education program director and ANU professor Andrew Norton said amid COVID-19 there would be both increased tertiary applications and fewer people deferring entry, meaning minimum entry cut-offs for courses could soar.
It comes as the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre has already recorded a staggering jump in applications for university this year.
It experienced the most applications ever received on an opening day when admissions opened on August 4: 2918.
QTAC executive officer John Griffiths said the high applicant number was a good indicator there would be strong demand from the domestic market next year.
Dr Griffiths said there had been a 37.8 per cent increase in tertiary applicants compared with the same time in 2019, with a big increase from current Year 12 students.
About 6600 students had already applied for university admission next year and to receive their ATAR in December after registrations for both opened on August 4, he said.
Prof Norton said in recent years about 9-10 per cent of people who accepted university offers deferred by a year but it was expected fewer people would defer because of the impact of COVID-19 on travel and employment.
"So that will push a large number of higher ATAR students into wanting a place in 2021," he said.
"And because ATARs are, in most cases, the interaction of supply and demand, that could well push up the minimum thresholds for some courses."
Prof Billett said there would be greater competition for courses with "identifiable occupations", on top of a trend of young people seeking "clean, well-paid and secure employment".
Medicine and law might become more difficult to access, he said.
And courses in physiotherapy, dietetics, speech pathology, occupational therapy, and engineering could be the courses with a big increase in demand, Prof Billett said.
Originally published as How getting into uni just got tougher